In an effort to help underrepresented students at UC Berkeley, Robert and Colleen Haas recently donated $24 million to two scholarship programs.
Of the $24 million, $10 million will be donated as a matching gift to the Fiat Lux Scholarship, according to an article published by Berkeley News. Established in 2016, the scholarship has been awarded to 316 accomplished, first-generation and socioeconomically disadvantaged UC Berkeley students, said Julie Hooper, campus vice chancellor for University Development and Alumni Relations, in an email.
“This commitment by Bob and Colleen Haas is enormously helpful,” Hooper said in the email. “Gifts like this mean so much in real terms. They signal a belief in our vision of a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus community.”
Hooper explained that the gift will hopefully inspire other Berkeley alumni and donors to make contributions knowing their donations will be matched dollar for dollar, which could potentially raise funds up to $20 million.
The other $14 million will be put into a permanent endowment for the Haas Scholars Program. Each year, 20 Haas Scholars receive mentoring from members of the campus’s faculty and up to $13,800 in financial support, according to the Haas Scholars website.
Robert, a campus alumnus and former head of Levi Strauss & Co., told Berkeley News that he learned the importance of giving back to the community from his father and family.
“Attending Berkeley is a life-changing experience,” Robert said in a quote to Berkeley News. “My time as an undergraduate shaped my skills, challenged comfortable assumptions and enlarged my possibilities. As a result, I understood what a difference a Berkeley education could make for others, especially those who had less opportunities than I had.”
According to Hooper, gifts such as Robert and Colleen’s are vital to keeping UC Berkeley affordable and obtainable for disadvantaged students.
“We are so grateful to Bob and Colleen Haas for this generous investment in our students and, by extension, in the future of California and the world,” Hooper said in the email.
Kaleo Mark is higher education reporter. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @kaleomark_dc.