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San Diego Education Fund was organized in 1954 to “assist San Diego City Schools (now San Diego Unified School District) and San Diego State College (now San Diego State University) in recruiting and training new teachers and also to assist the school program in other ways.” At the time, the San Diego community was experiencing a severe teacher shortage.

The initial program selected “well qualified college students who had outstanding personal qualifications and who gave the promise of superior teaching potential," and is the foundation for the current SDEF’s Future Teacher Scholars Program.

In 1958, SDEF took on an additional responsibility, acting as a depository and disbursing agent for special school programs that could not be funded with taxpayer dollars. This Student/School Enrichment Program continues to this day.  However, the Fund’s main focus today continues to be nurturing and supporting high school and college students.

In 1989, SDEF began awarding scholarships to college students. It quickly became evident that these students, most of whom were the first in their family to attend college, also needed mentoring and counseling. Initially, the San Diego Unified School District provided part-time counseling services in addition to the clerical and accounting assistance it continues to provide. Today, SDEF employs a mentor who works directly with the students and their families.

In 2008, SDEF expanded its role to establish the Future STEM Innovators Scholars Program. Funded by an endowment provided by two prominent local educators, Jack and Virginia Mashin, this program provides scholarships to college students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Since its inception, SDEF has helped hundreds of San Diego students achieve their goals of being teachers and STEM innovators.

To learn more about our specific programs, please click here.