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Photo: Taco Bell Foundation
Photo: Taco Bell Foundation

Taco Bell Foundation scholarship supports students’ passions

The Live Más Scholarship has helped thousands of students get the tools needed to succeed in post-secondary education.

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: AAPI Philly RISE

May 27th, 2022

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When it comes to access to critical educational tools to succeed, a form of de facto segregation exists.

According to EdBuild, predominantly white school districts receive $23 billion more than districts that serve mostly students of color.

Due to this wide gap in funding, students of color are often at a disadvantage. They may not receive the same level of programming that students in more affluent and predominantly white communities tend to receive.

As a way to address this crucial issue, The Taco Bell Foundation created the Live Más Scholarship

The Live Más Scholarship is awarded to students based on their passions, not their academic merit or athletic ability. 

“We kind of realized that most scholarships are really geared towards academic and athletic categories, and that there were just so many amazing students out there with really incredible passions who may not necessarily fit into those traditional categories,” Jennifer Bradbury, director of the Taco Bell Foundation, said. “We felt a need and a responsibility to provide education and support to those students.”

To apply, students are required to submit a two-minute video describing what their unique passion is, and how they can use that passion to make a difference in the world. 

The scholarship has continued to grow each year since it started in 2016. This year, more than $4.6 million was awarded to a total of 531 students across the country, with award amounts ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 each. This is a $1.6 million increase from what was awarded last year, and a $3.5 million increase from the first year. More than half of the award recipients were students of color. 

“There’s a huge need for the financial commitment and assistance to attend post-secondary education,” said Bradbury. “We’re very open to supporting all studies of post-secondary education degrees.”

This is what makes the availability of this kind of scholarship so important ⁠— students who may not be the best athlete or have the highest G.P.A. or go to a school with a lack of funding get the opportunity to be awarded a significant amount of money based on other qualities and skills. 

Jennifer Bradbury, director of the Taco Bell Foundation. Photo Courtesy of the Taco Bell Foundation

In addition to providing a check, the Live Más Scholarship also creates an opportunity for the winners to get real-world experiences that allows them to practice their craft outside the classroom.

“We’re really starting to pride ourselves in our ability to help students build their 21st century skills,” Bradbury said.

Programs like the Taco Bell Foundation’s Summer Workshops give scholars the opportunity to network with both like-minded peers and professionals to help develop their personal and professional skills.

“We bring students together for networking, mentorship, career readiness skills… those skills that we’re hearing students don’t feel prepared for today in terms of entering the workforce,” said Bradbury.

The Taco Bell Foundation’s summer workshop in Philadelphia will take place from July 16 to July 18 at The Study at University City.

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