Last month, we were honored to play a role in achieving a major milestone in local education. At an inspiring ceremony held at Richmond Memorial Auditorium, more than 380 students were celebrated as recipients of the first Richmond Promise college scholarship, which will provide them with up to $1,500 per year for four years of education.
Seeing all of that potential and excitement in one room reinforced the great importance of funding local education. It also became clear the Richmond Promise provides more than financial support and guidance for students wanting to go to college: it is creating a college-going culture in Richmond.
The Richmond Promise was made possible by a $35 million grant – part of a $90 million community benefits agreement connected to the $1 billion modernization of the Richmond Refinery. It is one of several recent investments in local education of which we are particularly proud.
While it is crucial to make education more affordable for local students, we feel it is equally important to provide tools and resources to prepare students for college and careers in growing fields such as science and engineering. We work with the West Contra Costa Uniﬁed School District and many community organizations to bring hands-on learning experiences to students.
Chevron recently partnered with the Fab Foundation to create Fab Lab Richmond, a state-of-the-art technology lab open to local students and community members. The lab is headquartered at Kennedy High and a new mobile lab on wheels will bring the technology to other area schools and community centers.
We have also recently invested in bringing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) centers to five Richmond schools.
We believe boosting youth education doesn’t always have to happen in the classroom. We have sponsored after-school summer programs at YMCA West Contra Costa to keep kids safe; invested in the City of Richmond’s YouthWORKS program, which provides summer jobs and life skills to at-risk youth; and similarly partnered with Familias Unidas, a program helping to reduce violence through intervention and support.
We are proud to have invested in these reputable and impactful programs. But most of all, we are proud to invest in Richmond’s youth. Watching all the Richmond Promise Scholars fill up Richmond Memorial Auditorium last month, and seeing their families by their side gleaming with pride, makes these community investments worthwhile.