Inland Empire

Local Charity Seeks to Uplift Latino Community in the Inland Empire Through Scholarships

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A local charity is announcing a new fund that is designed to uplift the Latino community.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars will soon be given out in the form of scholarships as well as grants to nonprofit organizations.

On the campus of the University of California in Riverside, Carla Fajardo is looking forward to graduation, especially for her parents who emigrated to the United States.

"It's an opportunity I didn't see my parents get and so I'm really experiencing that for myself but they're also part of that as well with me,” Fajardo said. 

According to the 2020 census data, the Latino community represents 52% of the Inland Empire but only a fraction have college degrees.

"We found alarming rates that only 11 percent meaning one out of ten latinos in the inland empire have a college degree. We also found that kids who are latino are twice as likely to live in poverty in comparison to their white counterparts,” Angel Rodriguez, of the CIELO fund. 

Rodriguez is trying to change that. He's one of the creators of the CIELO fund.


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CIELO stands for Cultivating the Inland Empire Latino Opportunity, and a big part of the fund is to give college scholarships.

“We need more community support for the latino community because at the end of the day if the latino community succeeds in the inland empire the entire inland empire succeeds,” Rodriguez said. 

The CIELO fund is part of the Inland Empire Community Foundation which gathers money from local philanthropists.

So far, roughly $300,000 dollars has been raised with part of the money going to local nonprofits.

“All of those nonprofits that are targeting the Inland Empire, those are the ones we want to support,” Rodriguez said. 

Including the TODEC legal center in Perris, which helps immigrants with legal advice.

"Many of us rely on volunteers to do this work so this is an opportunity for organizations like todec,” Luz Gallegos, TODEC legal center executive director, said. "To support communities and to continue to do the work that we do on the ground on the daily basis.”

The goal is to uplift the Latino community in the Inland Empire and give opportunities to those who want it and need it.

“Especially those who are not coming from the best income and are not having the best resources for that scholarships will be very helpful to us,” Fajardo said.

If you want more information about the cielo fund on how to get a grant or a scholarship go to

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