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Diversity, Philanthropy and How I Got Through College

Philanthropy changes lives. I know, because it changed mine.

When I arrived at UCLA my first priority wasn’t making new friends or signing up for student organizations— it was finding a job. And I did.

I knew that financing my college education was going to be tough, but I had no idea just how difficult it would be. By my second year, tuition and housing costs had both jumped. To reduce costs I decided to live off-campus my sophomore year, sometimes commuting 71 miles to and from school, and other times sleeping on the sofas of relatives and friends who lived closer.

At the start of my third year at UCLA things became desperate. With no idea of how my family would afford my final two years of college, I considered dropping out. In a stroke of luck, I was introduced to the Soledad O’Brien & Brad Raymond Foundation, which awarded me scholarships that allowed me to stay in school and live near campus. Their philanthropy gave me the opportunity to graduate from college and pursue my passion for social justice work. Now I’m headed to law school in the fall at Berkeley Law!

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