Held on November 29, 2016 at the Commissary at Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Fulfillment Fund Holiday Celebration gathered over 100 people from across its Board of Directors, the Scholar Bridge Network staff, and supporters of the organization. The joyous event, catered by Wolfgang Puck, was an occasion to honor and recognize the outstanding efforts of the Fulfillment Fund’s staff and supporters.
The evening was off to a great start by Maria Espinosa Booth, the incoming CEO of the Fulfillment Fund. In her opening speech, she extended her gratitude to the community for its tremendous support, without which the Fulfillment Fund would not be where it is today, its programs would not have been so successful, and it would not have been possible for the students to achieve their dreams.
Kenny Rogers, CEO of The Fulfillment Fund, received the prestigious Founders Award for his excellence and tireless dedication in ensuring that Fulfillment Fund students have a realistic opportunity to pursue a high-quality education. After serving the organization for four years, he will be leaving at the end of this year. Under his leadership, over 90% of Fulfillment Fund students who graduated high school went to college, whereas only 52% of students in low-income communities did.
Upon accepting the award, Rogers thanked past Fulfillment Fund scholars Jessica Naves and Jonathan Ruiz for being an inspiration for him. They were able to pursue higher education with the help of Fulfillment Fund, and both have graduated from UCLA this year. Their hard work, dedication, and exceptional achievement, Rogers said, are what drives his desire to provide opportunity for more students like them.
In presenting Rogers with the award, Fulfillment Fund Chairman and Founder Dr. Gary Gitnick commended him for his indefatigable commitment over the years. Highlighting the prestige of the Founders Award, as it is not given every year, Gitnick expressed his gratitude and respect for Rogers, for being so devoted to giving students the opportunity they deserve, and for embodying everything the Fulfillment Fund represents. He remarked that he has never seen anyone work so tirelessly, and with such dedication, as Rogers does.
Jorge Parra and Veronica Estrada, both Alumni Ambassadors’ Representatives, also spoke at the holiday celebration and talked about the amazing growth and expanded outreach of the organization under Rogers’s leadership.
About The Fulfillment Fund
For 39 years, the Fulfillment Fund has been serving the Los Angeles community through making college a reality for students in economically and educationally under-resourced communities. Through classroom instruction, mentoring, college counseling, and college tours, the nonprofit organization seeks to empower students, open their eyes to their own potential and the possibility of higher education, and transform their lives.