Family Invests in Tomorrow’s Leaders

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by Laura Gallardo ’03

As an incoming freshman, Beatriz Romero ’18 was pleasantly surprised to learn that she had been selected for an Annexstad Family Foundation Leaders for Tomorrow Scholarship. “Coming from a low-income family of 13, it is very difficult for my parents to financially contribute to my education. Receiving this scholarship not only helps pay for my tuition, but it motivates me to maintain a high GPA and complete my degree.” With plans to attend medical school, Romero knows the scholarship will have an impact on her life after graduation. “I look forward to giving back to my community once I begin my career in the medical field.”

Established in 2000 by Al and Cathy Annexstad, the Annexstad Family Foundation makes significant investments to help deserving students like Romero who have faced extraordinary challenges in life become America’s future leaders. The foundation sees great potential for outstanding leaders to emerge among those whom Al describes as “the brightest of the bright, neediest of the needy and the toughest of the tough.” Both he and Cathy lost parents to untimely deaths in their youth. These experiences gave the Annexstads a deep appreciation for how community support can impact a young person’s life. Cathy believes “all children, regardless of their station in life, are a precious resource for good someday. All they need is a chance.”

The University has proudly collaborated with the foundation since 2011. “The University of Redlands joins a select group of institutions making dreams come true through this partnership,” says Dick Sherwood, the foundation’s executive director who works with over 60 institutions of higher learning. “More than 500 scholarships have been awarded to date with plans for 500 more in the years ahead. We are pleased to report a graduation rate over 90 percent.” More than $170,000 in scholarships has been awarded to Redlands students; five Annexstad Scholars are currently on campus, while two more students will be receiving the scholarship next year. These generous awards are renewable for four years as the foundation intends for students to earn their degrees as free from debt as possible.

In addition to the scholarships, the foundation also serves as a source of encouragement for its scholars. Each fall, for example, it sends thoughtful care packages. “One of the students commented that she was sick the week she received the package, so the timing was perfect!” says Shannon Dale, Annexstad’s program administrator. “Ultimately we want them to feel supported and to know that we are thinking of them.”

Vanessa Huerta Navarro ’18 is not only grateful for the financial assistance, but also for the community that the foundation created. “I learned that being an Annexstad Scholar is much more than being a scholarship recipient. It is being a part of a larger network of students who experience similar challenges. Knowing that I am a part of this network has encouraged me to do my best and helped to get me through my first year of college.”

For more information on supporting student scholarships like the Annexstad Family Foundation,
please contact Molly Widdicombe, director of annual giving, at 909-748-8381
or visit www.redlands.edu/giving.

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