The History and Philosophy of Kennedy-King

The Kennedy-King Memorial College Scholarship Fund, Ltd. was formed in 1968 as a living memorial to two men who died in that tumultuous year, Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was, and still is, an effort to do a small part in addressing the problem of equal opportunity in education for all; a problem they accurately perceived and articulated. The community response has been gratifying, and we are able to look back on many years of modest but increasing success.

Kennedy-King has become a permanent part of the Contra Costa community. From hopeful beginnings in 1968 that led to our first two scholarships in 1969, it has grown and prospered over the years, thanks to ever-increasing support from concerned residents and business organizations. The breadth of its support can be seen in its donors and the growing number of the recipients as well as the increase in the dollar amount of the scholarships. Our goals are simple and consistent with the American promise: assist in providing opportunity to our young people and they will utilize their own initiative and the opportunity to benefit not only themselves, but also their community.

The recipients of Kennedy-King Scholarships are outstanding Contra Costa Community College District students who are transferring to four year colleges and universities to obtain Bachelors Degrees. They are chosen for their need, academic promise, determination to obtain an education (often in the face of unbelievable difficulties and hardships), leadership potential and commitment to helping their community.

They are drawn from minority groups under-represented in California college and university enrollment, principally students of African-American, Hispanic, Native American and Pacific Islander descent. Not coincidentally, these are the minority groups that are most economically disadvantaged in our society.

In this way we hope to assist in advancing the participation of these minorities in our society. We believe each recipient will become a successful, contributing member of our community in the future. But they need our help and encouragement now.

Kennedy-King raises money to provide two-year, $10,000 undergraduate scholarships and one-year, $5,000 graduate scholarships. The Board of Directors periodically increases the scholarship amount to help defray the rising cost of education, a serious and immediate problem. The requirements for the two-year scholarships are:

  • Be a member of one of the under-represented minorities we serve.
  • Documented financial need .
  • Demonstrated academic ability while enrolled at one of the three Contra Costa community colleges.
  • Acceptance at a four-year college or university.

The graduate scholarships are awarded to previous Kennedy-King undergraduate recipients. The scholarship money is sent directly to the college or university each quarter or semester. Since 1968, 776 scholarships worth almostĀ $4,400,000 have been awarded. The fund is an all-volunteer effort. There is no paid staff, office rent or telephone bill. In sum, the scholarships go to students of proven need, ability and desire to succeed. Kennedy-King’s many years of experience assures the best use of donated money, whether it is in the form of a direct contribution, presence at the Annual Awards Dinner, or your ad in the Souvenir Dinner Program. If any entity has money earmarked for giving to education, our years of experience and volunteer status guarantee worthiness without waste.