• All topics,  News,  SLI in Harrisonburg,  SLI in Richmond,  SLI in Winchester

    WHSV Community Spotlight: Scholars Latino Initiative


    By Chelsea Church/WHSV

    HARRISONBURG, VA – “For 10 years, the Scholars Latino Initiative (SLI) has been helping create opportunities for students at Harrisonburg High School. The organization has several locations in Virginia made up of a group of outstanding students looking to further their education after high school.” WATCH AND READ MORE

  • Janefer
    All topics,  Expressions of Gratitude,  SLI in Harrisonburg

    A letter of gratitude from Janefer, SLI scholar

    Dear SLI Community of Support,

    As a SLI scholar, I want to express my gratitude to you for your support for Scholars Latino Initiative.

    Growing up, education was always the first thing. If I would arrive home with a grade below an A, my mother would always tell me, “You need to try harder in order to be able to qualify for scholarships and go to college.” Due to my mother’s hard work of raising me correctly, I was accepted to SLI my freshman year. 

    I am pushing myself to receive a degree in honor of my mother. She wanted everything in education but unfortunately she couldn’t afford it, so she crossed the border for me and my future and that has no price. 

    My college goals are to successfully receive my associate and high school degrees and then continue in a four-year university, attend dental school, and become a successful orthodontist. I will be successful for my mother and those hard working parents who crossed the border for their families. 

    Besides being beneficial to college, SLI has helped me become more outgoing and know what it’s like to help our community, especially those in need. Through community service, SLI scholars help elementary children, adults, homeless people and other people in need in many different ways. We can make a change as high school students. SLI has also helped me become more independent, go my own way, and make a fundraising activity to help us raise money for those who actually are in need. 

    SLI understands how difficult it is for Latino families to contribute to their children’s education, and produces new opportunities for Latinx students facing struggles during the college process. SLI opens new doors by not only helping us pay our dual enrollment tuition to obtain college credits while in high school, but also by challenging us to serve the community without receiving anything back. It is our choice to help, and we do it with much love and dedication. 

    Thank you.

    Harrisonburg High School ’22

  • It's SLI's 10th year!
    All topics,  News

    Welcome to 2022 – SLI’s 10th year!

    A letter from Jason Good, SLI board chair

    Dear SLI community,

    This year especially I am grateful for the inspiring determination of SLI scholars, and for their passion about making a positive impact in our communities. They give me hope for the future, and I’m proud to be part of the SLI community of support that stands with them as they pursue their college dreams.

    I am also filled with gratitude for each person, business, organization, and foundation that has donated to SLI. Your generosity has enabled SLI’s budget to grow by an average of more than 40% each year since 2016, increasing our capacity to support Latino/a/x students with college access through rigorous academic challenge, leadership development, scholarships, and supportive mentorships.

    The foundations of this mission began well before SLI’s first decade as a Virginia nonprofit. The original SLI was founded by Peter Iver Kaufman and others in 2001 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2008 he brought SLI to the University of Richmond, and later to the Shenandoah Valley, where this organization was incorporated in 2012 and became a 501c3 public charity. Peter’s leadership of SLI in Richmond is a continuation of his legacy of service.

    SLI’s ongoing efforts are rooted in a vision statement recently articulated by the SLI board of directors: “SLI is a community-based, not-for-profit organization built on partnerships with high schools, universities, communities, students, and parents, and dedicated to advancing Latino/a/x students’ post-high school educational opportunities. SLI advocates for Latino/a/x opportunities and strives for social justice and equity. Scholars are mentored to be leaders that positively contribute to their communities.”

    In this 10th anniversary year, please join me in celebrating the successes of SLI scholars and continuing to invest in their access to higher education. Watch for special announcements and opportunities as we ensure that SLI’s next decade will be as remarkable as its first!


    Jason Good
    Chair, Board of Directors
    Scholars Latino Initiative

  • All topics,  News

    Thank you! SLI’s 2021 year-end campaign for college access raises $58k+

    Scholars Latino Initiative closed 2021 with a record-setting year-end campaign in which more than 80 individuals, organizations, foundations, and businesses gave more than $58,000 to support Latino/a/x students who dream of going to college.

    Campaign matching funds were generously provided SLI Board of Directors chair Jason Good and member Fawn-Amber Montoya and Cecilia Barbosa (cBe Consulting), Janette Gallardo (Vitta Solutions), and SLI’s founder.

    SLI’s mission is to support Latino/a/x high school students with college access through rigorous academic challenge, leadership development, scholarships, and supportive mentorships. It serves young people who experience unique circumstances as first-generation college students; as talented but often invisible individuals; as children from families that are disproportionately under resourced and disenfranchised; and as members of a growing population in Virginia and the U.S. that is underrepresented on college campuses.

    With the support of generous donors, SLI has already awarded its scholars more than $375,000 in scholarships, computer awards, and dual enrollment tuition support, helping them attend more than 20 colleges and universities.

    While this campaign has ended, you can still join in this exciting mission today by making a donation to SLI at vasli.org/donate or with Apple or Google:

    Mail a check:
    Scholars Latino Initiative
    PO Box 1245
    Harrisonburg, VA 22803

  • Cargill 2021
    All topics,  News

    Cargill makes donation to Scholars Latino Initiative

    PICTURED: Scholars Latino Initiative Director of Development Christopher Clymer Kurtz (left) and Board Treasurer Evelin González with Cargill Virginia HR Leader Stephanie Arnold and Dayton Complex General Manager Andrew Friedman.

    HARRISONBURG, VA – Cargill has announced a $10,000 donation to Scholars Latino Initiative (SLI) to create college access opportunities for Latino/x students.

    “Cargill’s generous gift is a huge vote of confidence in the young people who are SLI scholars,” said SLI Board Chair Jason Good. “By funding SLI programming and financial awards, Cargill is investing in our communities’ future leaders.” 

    Cargill, whose purpose is to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way, has 155,000 employees in 70 countries. Its support for SLI includes a $5,000 event sponsorship and a matching grant from Cargill Cares, which provides corporate support to select national and global nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations that serve communities in which Cargill has a business presence.

    “We are delighted to partner with SLI to positively impact our community,” said Stephanie Arnold, Virginia HR Leader for Cargill. “Cargill is committed to helping the world thrive, and we truly stand by that commitment. We are inspired by the work SLI is doing to provide educational opportunities for students in our community, and honored to be a partner in building strong and thriving communities.”

    A 501c3 nonprofit organization, SLI supports Latino/a/x high school students in Harrisonburg, Richmond, and Winchester with college access through rigorous academic challenge, leadership development, scholarships, and supportive mentorships. Its alumni have attended 21 colleges and universities.

    “When I was in high school SLI allowed me to make connections I would’ve otherwise not made,” said SLI scholar Kellyn, a Harrisonburg High School graduate now studying at Virginia Tech. “I had the opportunity to talk to many college professors, work with JMU students, and be part of many informational retreats. All the information that I learned while being a SLI student helped me prepare for college as a minority student at a PWI [predominantly white institution].”

    Since 2012 SLI has awarded its scholars more than $375,000 in college scholarships, computer awards, and dual enrollment tuition assistance. 

    For more information, please visit vasli.org or contact SLI Director of Development Christopher Clymer Kurtz at christopher.clymerkurtz@vasli.org.

  • All topics,  Events,  News,  SLI in Harrisonburg

    Noche de Salsa ’21

    A celebration of college access opportunities for Scholars Latino Initiative scholars, COVID-conscious Noche de Salsa ’21 at Steven Toyota in Harrisonburg featured a Latin-flavor drive-thru dinner & margarita with park & watch live Salsa dancing and an online raffle. WATCH THE SLI APPRECIATIONS VIDEO.

    Thank you to each guest, event partner, sponsor, and raffle prize donor for making the evening a successful benefit for SLI scholars! SEE DETAILS

  • All topics,  Expressions of Gratitude,  SLI in Winchester

    Thank you! from Everth, SLI scholar

    Thank you. To everyone. To everyone who I have met along every step of my journey, and to everyone who has given me so many opportunities to become a better student, and a better person in general, thank you. Thank you to everyone who has supported SLI because if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have been able to be part of such a wonderful program.

    SLI will forever hold a special place in my heart, and I hope that in the future, I can have the opportunity to become a mentor as well. I wish I could find the words to express how grateful I am but the truth is that I can’t. However, to everyone who has been a part of SLI, I just wanted to let you know that all the effort, time, and sacrifice that you all have placed into this organization has not been in vain.

    All that you have done for me as well as for my sister, we have not taken for granted. Thank you.

    John Handley High School ’21
    Shenandoah University ’25
    Read more and hear Everth share during Meet SLI – Winchester

  • Meybelline
    All topics,  Expressions of Gratitude,  SLI in Richmond

    Thank you! from Meybelline, SLI scholar

    My family and I are very grateful for the SLI computer award. Yesterday my mom and I went to buy the computer I needed for my first year at Virginia Union University. As of today, I will start a few of my classes virtually, and the computer will be a great help (I am emailing you from it).

    I am beyond thankful for this opportunity. My mother works really hard to support me and my sister in everything she can. She’s a strong, amazing woman, always supporting us and being there for us. This award was a blessing for me and we are very thankful.

    Best regards,
    Meybelline and family
    Huguenot High School ’21
    Virginia Union University ’25

It's SLI's 10th year!