Scholarship & Mentoring Program

The Pay It Forward Scholarship and Mentoring Program provides a $20,000 four-year scholarship at California State University, Monterey Bay, to local Monterey County, first-generation college students through private funds. Each scholar is mentored by a community leader who helps the student navigate the challenges of college life. In turn, the scholars must maintain a four-year graduation track and a 2.5 GPA. They “Pay It Forward” by mentoring a FCF participant, creating a cycle of local college students who are contributing to the community even as they study.

Since the program’s inception in 2008, a total of 3.4 million dollars in scholarships have been distributed with an additional $850,000 raised for future distribution to current students. 

Our History

Early 2008, Mike and Linda Dorn, Pay It Forward Scholarship & Mentoring Program (PIF) founders, announced their desire to see a new scholarship and mentoring program at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) to be called “Pay It Forward.” After a series of meetings, they funded the first class of PIF recipients in Fall 2008. Today, the program has grown to serve 202 first-generation, CSUMB graduates.

In 2013, the program formally began its current affiliation with the Future Citizens Foundation (FCF), home of First Tee – Monterey County and Taylor Farms Center For Learning. FCF and PIF both focus on the development of local youth and positively impact our local community: It is a perfect match.

PIF is dedicated to building the local Monterey Bay community by changing one life, one family, at a time. The impact of local PIF Graduates from the CSUMB and going back into our Monterey County community will be felt for decades and generations to come.

The program is funded solely by private funds donated generously from individuals and private foundations. Since the PIF establishment, every dollar donated to the program has gone to scholarships. Through a 2013 partnership agreement with the University Corporation, the foundation arm of CSUMB, the administrative costs have been covered by non-gifted funds.

The PIF watchwords – Commitment, Accountability, Excellence and Graciousness – are built into the program itself and instilled into the Scholars throughout their four years as they maintain their commitments to the program and to the First Tee – Monterey County participants they mentor.

A Letter from Our Founders

arly in 2008, after a number of meetings on the CSUMB campus, it became apparent to us that there is a need for a program to assist some of the many students from area high schools who are first generation in their families to attend college – a program that would provide scholarship funds and mentors, with the mentors being the heart of the program. We wanted to “pay it forward”, and we also wanted the students involved to learn how to “pay it forward.” As a result, we conceived of what is called the Pay It Forward Scholarship and Mentoring Program at CSUMB. Not only was the program to provide four-year scholarships totaling $20,000 to each student, but was also designed to pair each student with a mentor for the four years, AND to require that each student in turn mentor a younger student for at least five hours per month, now through The First Tee of Monterey County. The program provides more than academics; it also provides life lessons that result from the relationship with a mentor.

The program’s growth, and the number of students that it can serve, is limited only by the funds available each year for new scholarships. Watching the students mature over their four-year careers in the program is a gift to us. Please join us. You will be giving a gift to them, but also to yourself. Together, we can make a difference and change the lives of some students, their families and their communities.

– Mike and Linda Dorn, Founders of the Pay It Forward Scholarship and Mentoring Program

Scholars

Our scholarship recipients are CSUMB students who are graduates of local high schools and have at least a five year connection to the area. Each must be among the first generation in their family to have attended college. Each must also be a legal resident of the United States and nominated by a school counselor or other adult who knows the student well.

The students nominated and selected to apply for a scholarship are screened and interviewed by a selection committee comprised of program mentors. Each year that committee selects a cohort of new recipients based upon the funds available for new scholarships.

Mentors

Each Pay It Forward Scholar is mentored by a community leader throughout their college years. Our mentors often come to us through the recommendations of past or current mentors.

The role of our mentors is to help empower and guide. Each scholar meets with his or her assigned mentor at least once per month to gain inspiration and practical advice. Mentors help their scholar learn how to manage time, set priorities, navigate the new world of the university, and access resources to help them succeed. These relationships yield lifelong dividends for both scholar and mentor.

Interested in becoming a mentor? Click here.