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Connecting First-Generation College Seniors to an Equitable Future


Ivory Bridges Foundation provides a pathway to an equitable future for first-generation college seniors by supporting them through a year of enrichment and intention. 


Ivory Bridges was founded

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Number of Fellows

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Scholarship Amount per Fellow

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Our Name

American colleges and universities were not originally created for all. The earliest universities served a dual purpose to train clergy and for the wealthy to signal their prestige to society. In the early 20th century, American colleges and universities were coined the 'Ivory Tower' due to their exclusive nature: a place where people were isolated from the problems of the world in favor of their own pursuits. 


As time passed, colleges and universities became more inclusive, particularly for veterans, women, underrepresented minorities, and working-class communities. Although progress has been made, a substantial gap remains for students transitioning from college into the workforce, particularly for first-generation college students. Due to this pressing need, our mission remains strong: To "bridge" first-generation college seniors to an equitable future through a year of enrichment and intention.

Our Why

According to a report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), first-generation college graduates earn a starting salary up to 17% less than their peers who studied the same subject. This economic reality poses stifling barriers for the financial and professional development of students who are the first in their families to attend college. At Ivory Bridges, we find this gap unacceptable.  


We believe that students who are the first in their families to graduate from college should obtain a strong return on investment from their college degrees. We help turn what has traditionally been a year of stress into a year of enrichment and intention by providing coaches that use an equity-oriented and tailored approach to outlining career goals, building healthy financial habits, and nourishing a strong sense of self.

Our Who

We select six resourceful, talented, and ambitious first-generation college seniors who will go on to make prominent contributions to society. Each fellow embodies the resilience, diligence, and trailblazing spirit of those who are the first in their families to graduate from college.  


Applicants must be enrolled in their junior year at an accredited college or university in San Diego County (i.e., California State University - San Marcos, San Diego State University, University of California - San Diego, and University of San Diego) and be on track to graduate in Spring or Summer 2024. Please visit the FAQ page for more information about eligibility.

Our How

Our fellows receive:

  • $8,000 scholarship

  • 100% savings-match challenge up to $2,000 

  • 1-on-1 career coaching sessions to outline career goals 

  • 1-on-1 financial coaching sessions to build healthy financial habits

  • 1-on-1 wellness coaching sessions to nourish a strong sense of self

  • Access to an encouraging and supportive professional community and network

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Our Results


Number of Alums

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Graduation Rate

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Savings-Match Earned

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Our previous cohort's comments on Analia Mendez, Career Coach

" After sending Analia my resume and informing her about my 180-change in careers, she sent me a Loom video going into detail about how I can navigate through the change. Ever since then, the majority of the companies that I have applied to have gotten back to me asking about interviews. "
Jerry Palacios 
Class Of 2022

Application Details

Application Opens:

Wed. February 1, 2023

Application Closes:

Sun. February 26, 2023


Sat. April 1, 2023

Materials Required:

  • (Un)Official Transcript

  • 3 Short Responses

  • Letter(s) of Rec

  • Resume

** We encourage you to follow our social media (@ivorybridgesfoundation) to learn more about our program, our coaches, and receive application tips.

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