“So many things in education are hard to do, and when you discover something that works you want to be a part of it. Denver Scholarship Foundation works.”

— Cathey McClain Finlon, Chair, Denver Scholarship Foundation

In 2020, 74 percent of Colorado jobs will require post-secondary education. Dymond Ruybal is one of 4,500 Denver Scholarship Foundation scholars now ready for this wave. She’s already earned her bachelor’s degree in integrated physiology and is moving onto her master’s degree. She did it through a lot of hard work and by earning an academic full-ride scholarship to University of Colorado Boulder.

“I am not only very proud, but also so grateful,” shares Phyllis Ruybal, Dymond’s mother. “My daughter always worked hard in school and now she has the chance to go after her dreams. I couldn’t have done this for her.”

Solidifying dreams is strengthening our state for the future. “Colorado is an extremely educated state, but that statistic comes from people moving here. All our scholars stay in Colorado. We are building the base within the state,” said Angrith Na, DSF advisor at East High School. In his role, he helps students navigate the college application process. “The process can be daunting. We help make students aware of their options and of various funding revenues. It’s incredible how lives can be changed through this guidance.”

Lance Hostetter, also with DSF, echoes Angrith’s sentiment. “It’s about workforce development. We are strengthening our future by helping students get to, and complete, college. We know this work is vitally important.”

He’s not alone in showing his confidence in the program. The Ed. Gala earned $1.2 million for Denver Scholarship Foundation coming from an incredible array of sponsorships, ranging from $200,000 to $2,500. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Denver Scholarship Foundation’s (DSF) mission to inspire and empower Denver Public School (DPS) students to achieve their postsecondary educational goals by providing the tools, knowledge and financial resources essential for success. All this proves to be a worthy investment as every dollar invested in a student who graduates with support of the Denver Scholarship Foundation returns nine times that amount to the Denver community. In addition, by increasing the number of college graduates, DSF increases the number of people who historically have healthier children, rely less on social services, and earn nearly $1 million more in their lifetimes compared to those who do not pursue college.

The evening was a night to honor Noey and Tom Congdon. The pair is known to most as quiet philanthropists. For more than 50 years they have made strategic investments in nonprofits serving the key educational and cultural needs of the growing population of Colorado. Expanding educational opportunities for young people has long been a focus for the Congdons. When the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) was founded in 2006, they immediately recognized its potential. They were among the very first major investors in DSF’s endowment, and have maintained close ties to the organization ever since. They are true believers in DSF’s mission of making college possible for all Denver Public School graduates.

Emmy Award-winning co-anchor of ABC news magazine Primetime John Quiñones served as keynote speaker. Logging nearly 25 years with the network, he is the sole anchor of the Primetime limited series What Would You Do?, one of the highest-rated newsmagazine franchises of recent years. During his tenure he has reported extensively for ABC News, predominantly serving as a correspondent for Primetime and 20/20.

Over the years, DSF has awarded $25 million in need-based scholarships to 4,500 Scholars. Three-quarters of all DSF Scholars have completed their degree or persist in college. About 80 percent of our scholars will be among the first generation in their family to graduate from college. Since DSF was founded in 2006, the number of DPS students who enroll in college the fall after graduation has increased by 34 percent.