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About Us
We make college possible for
underserved youth

Mission

Founded by author Dave Eggers, ScholarMatch began as a simple crowdfunding platform and grew into a full service college-access organization. Our mission is to make college possible for underserved youth by matching students with donors, resources, colleges, and professional networks.

ScholarMatch has expanded rapidly from serving just 39 students in 2010 to working with more than 500 students per year. Though crowdfunded scholarships remain at the core, our college advising, career coaching, and other services are an essential part of each student’s college journey.


Impact

Our model champions low-income and first-generation students in the three critical areas: navigating the college admissions process, paying for school, and creating a support system in college. Impactful and efficient, our programs are driven by our students’ needs and backed by the latest groundbreaking data and research. ScholarMatch is a small but mighty organization and our students succeed at rates far higher than other underserved students nationwide.

2015 Statistics

Programs

ScholarMatch is the only major nonprofit that combines a crowdfunded scholarship platform with game-changing college access and career support for low-income youth. Our typical student comes from a family earning less than $25,000 per year and attends a high school with just one counselor per 500-800 students.

Our unique approach is fueled by community engagement and focused on what our students need most: hands-on help applying to college, financial assistance with tuition, and a support system throughout college.


Staff


Diana Adamson
Executive Director

Diana is a native Californian and a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. She holds Masters degrees from Saint Peters College and The London School of Economics. Her experiences in Teach For America, classroom teaching, and working abroad drive her passion for increasing access to higher education for under-resourced students. Since joining ScholarMatch in 2011, Diana has led it through gaining 501(c)3 status, significant program expansion, and becoming a sustainable, high-impact organization. She is committed to continually analyzing and improving ScholarMatch programs to achieve the best possible student outcomes.

Noel Ramirez
Senior Director of College Access

Noel is the son of Salvadoran immigrants and a first-generation college student from East Palo Alto, CA. He is a graduate of Seattle University and has nearly 10 years of experience working in college admissions around the country. Since joining ScholarMatch in 2012, Noel has overseen the evolution of ScholarMatch programs and is the driving force behind our Destination College program, providing hands-on support to our students and their families and training our volunteer college coaches.

Noel habla español entonces si tienes una pregunta, estoy aqui para servirle sobre el proceso para atender la universidad y obtener el titulo universitario.


Selina Weiss
Communications Manager

Selina is a native San Franciscan, who attended City College of San Francisco and graduated from San Francisco State University. She has worked for the Mayor of San Francisco, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and other city organizations. Selina joined ScholarMatch in 2012 and has revolutionized our student communications, scholarship payment systems, and social media outreach.  She finds great joy working with our inspiring students, reading their update letters and corresponding with our dedicated donors.

Selina habla español y esta aqui para ayudarle.


Monica Mendez
Director of College Programs

Monica is passionate about higher education and helping first-generation students achieve their college and professional goals. As a student in Southern California, she participated in a similar high school program called AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), which led to her admission to Saint Mary’s College of California. Monica has extensive experience in career advising for college students and nonprofit volunteering. Since joining the ScholarMatch team in 2014, she has spearheaded the expansion of our College to Career program—ensuring that all students are given the one-on-one support they need to graduate college and launch a successful career.


Juliana Sloane
Development Director

Juliana leads development at ScholarMatch to support our strategic growth. She is a graduate of Guilford College, holds a Master’s degree from Central European University, and has completed post-graduate work at the Inter-University Centre in Dubrovnic, Croatia. Over the years, she has championed the work of a variety of organizations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and also works with individuals, organizations, and schools as a coach and workshop facilitator. Since joining the team in 2013, Juliana has been instrumental in shaping organizational growth, increasing financial stability, and planning for the future.

Kate Bueler
Program and Volunteer Coordinator

Kate is a native Californian, a first-generation college student, and a graduate of the University of San Francisco. She holds Masters degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University and University of San Francisco. She is a lifelong educator holding multiple roles in the field including teacher, literacy instructor, researcher, school counselor, and policy maker. Kate was inspired by her father who dropped out of college to complete college herself and this motivates her in supporting students as they embark on their own college journey. She is motivated by student stories of strength, resiliency, and enjoys seeing students’ growth overtime.


Piper Sutherland
New Sector AmeriCorps RISE Fellow

Piper joins ScholarMatch this year as a Program Fellow with New Sector Alliance and is a graduate of Gonzaga University. Piper has significant experience in the field of youth development, having coordinated a program serving homeless adolescents, working as a Court Appointed Advocate for children in foster care, and serving as both a mentor and mentor coordinator for at-risk youth in her community. Piper feels passionate about the need to address and combat educational inequity and is excited to work with others who are committed to improving access to higher education. Piper works directly with Mission High School students and oversees our student resource center.

Jessica Li
College Advisor

Jessica is a Bay Area native and is currently finishing up her last semester at San Francisco State University for her Master’s in Career and College Counseling. She holds a Bachelor’s from UC Irvine in Drama with a minor in Education. Jessica is passionate about helping youth and young adults to reach their dreams of pursing higher education. While at UC Irvine, she volunteered with Project MotiVATe, working with Vietnamese at-risk youth to help them graduate high school. From there, it sparked her interest working with teenagers and giving back to the community. During her free time she enjoys practicing bikram yoga and rock climbing.


Kristen Minami
College Advisor

Kristen is a graduate student at the University of San Francisco working to earn her master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs. Kristen has experience counseling and supporting students through her work as a student conduct officer at USF and as an undergraduate in her various peer educator programs. Her passion and commitment to support students stems from her own personal experience as a first generation student and her drive to consistently create more equitable spaces for individuals in higher education.

Rachael Reiley
Finance & Operations Manager

Rachael grew up in San Francisco and graduated from Lowell High School in the mid-nineteen-eighties. She received a BA from Mills College and a JD from USF. In her work life she has concentrated on providing financial services and oversight to a range of local non-profits and small businesses. When not behind an abacus she is often behind the pages of a YA novel. She is very excited to be joining the ScholarMatch team to keep operations efficient and stream-lined as the organization continues to grow.


Jazzy
Scholar Dog

Jazzy was rescued in 2011 and has been bringing joy to the ScholarMatch office ever since. Her fierce commitment to catching flies and laying on your feet make her the perfect addition to the team.


Board of Directors


Rose Carmona-Arbulu
Rose is a Financial Aid Counselor, University Scholarship Specialist and AB 540 Advisor at San Francisco State University, which is also her alma mater. She has a Master’s in Education, has served on the school’s AB 540 Task Force and is dedicated to helping all students have access to higher education.

Tom Conrad
Tom is the Cofounder of Pandora, and was most recently their Chief Technology Officer. He has led engineering and product design teams at a wide range of companies, including Berkeley Systems, Relevance Technologies, and Pets.com. He began his career at Apple Computer and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.


Dave Eggers
Dave is the Founder of ScholarMatch and several other organizations, including nonprofit 826 Valencia and McSweeney’s Publishing Company. Dave is a graduate of University of Illinois and an award-winning author and educator.

Christine P. Higgins
Christy is Founder and Operator of Christine Higgins College Counseling; has worked as a Speech and Language pathologist at various locations; long-time volunteer at 826 Valencia, ScholarMatch and numerous other schools and non-profits.


Leif Isaksen
Leif Isaksen graduated from Occidental College and holds a PhD in Complexity from USC. Prior to retiring, was the CEO and Chairman of his own research and consulting firm. Leif has experience in planning, management, information systems, research, analysis, and marketing skills. He attributes much of his success to scholarships and opportunities he received from his own college journey.

Diana Kapp
Diana is a journalist who writes about a broad range of political, educational and cultural topics. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco ChronicleSan Francisco Magazine, ELLE, MORE, and other pubs. She holds a BA from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.


Jon Keehn
Jon is an Investment Analyst at Capital International Investors. He previously worked at Maverick Capital and at Morgan Stanley & Co. and has been a long-time supporter and volunteer at ScholarMatch. He has an undergraduate degree is from University of Detroit Mercy and a graduate degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Ian Ferry
Ian has served as a portfolio manager and equity analyst for Jackson Square Partners since its inception in May 2014. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Tulane University and holds an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


Randie Bencanann
Randie is a retired social worker and previously the co-director of Adoption Connection. She holds a Masters in Health Sciences from San Francisco State University, a Master of Social work from Yeshiva University, and is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Ben Steinberg
Ben is the Director of Development at the Tehiyah Day School, an independent Jewish community day school, as well as an entrepreneur focused on using technology to benefit underserved students. Ben is a graduate of UC Davis and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton.


Ron Turiello
Ron is a graduate of Cornell Law School and has over 15 years of experience in law and technology in Silicon Valley and New York. He is active in education reform efforts, serving as an advisory board member for New Leaders for New Schools Bay Area chapter from 2009 to 2013, currently on the Board of Directors of Helios New School, an independent school for gifted learners, and as a member of the Education Circle of Full Circle Fund.

Mary Williams
Mary is a native of Oakland, and grew up part of the Black Panther community before going to live with Jane Fonda at age 14. Today, Mary is an author, avid traveler, and currently participating in Peace Corps in Uganda. She also serves as a trustee of the Fonda Family Foundation and has been instrumental in supporting ScholarMatch from the very beginning.