A Q&A with Longtime Staff Member Nicole Jones

Nicole Jones is one of the longest-serving staff members at the Scholarship Foundation, having joined the organization in 2005. A past Foundation scholarship recipient, she earned a degree in agricultural sciences at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and currently serves as Associate Director of Development.

You’ve held various positions at the Scholarship Foundation. How does that help you in your current role?

Having experience in most aspects of what we do makes answering donors’ questions almost like second nature for me. I can share stories of students we’ve helped and explain the scholarship application process. Having a long history with the organization has also given me significant historical knowledge about Foundation operations, which has been helpful as we’ve grown and evolved.

What is the biggest misconception that donors have about the Scholarship Foundation?

Many donors mistakenly believe that we award scholarships only to high school seniors and are surprised to learn that we support undergraduate and graduate students. The Scholarship Foundation is here to get students “to” and “through” college. Most donors are very receptive to this concept.

What would you say to community members who are considering a philanthropic gift to the Foundation?

If education or community betterment are among your philanthropic priorities, you should absolutely support the Scholarship Foundation! We strive to level the playing field countywide by providing the neediest students with funding to access higher education. When we assist a student, it lifts her entire family, in turn bolstering the local workforce and the community overall.

What is your most memorable experience as a development professional at the Scholarship Foundation?

One donor was so moved by the hardship facing a particular student that he took additional steps to help the student and her family to ensure her success. Witnessing the relationships brought about by our programs is truly a privilege.

What is the most gratifying part of your job?

I really love the month of May, when we get to celebrate the students, the donors, and the tie that binds them together. I am grateful for the opportunity to play a role in bringing them together and create positive change in our community.