Denver Scholarship Foundation

The Denver Scholarship Foundation inspires and empowers Denver Public Schools’ students to enroll in and graduate from postsecondary institutions of higher education, by providing the tools, knowledge, and financial resources essential for success.

The Denver Scholarship Foundation was founded in 2006 based on wide recognition that Denver Public Schools students face multiple barriers to completing a postsecondary degree. Philanthropists Tim and Bernadette Marquez wanted to make a major gift to increase the level of college attainment in Denver. They joined Mayor John Hickenlooper and Superintendent Michael Bennet to look at how to make access to higher education possible for all DPS students today and for generations to come.

This “kitchen table” founders’ conversation resulted in a $50 million pledge from the Marquezes in the form of a challenge grant. This challenge catalyzed the process of putting into place a comprehensive program to support DPS students in completing high school and obtaining a higher education degree.

Institutional Award


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Denver Scholarship