Skip to main content

About LEAD

Mission Statement

Founded in 2003 at Santa Clara University, the LEAD Scholars Program supports first-generation college students in their academic success, community engagement and vocational exploration. 

We have expanded to provide a wide range of support, helping first-generation college students: 

3 students in the stages of their collegiate career


  • LEAD Week: Participate in an orientation the week before college to start making friends and acclimating to campus
  • LEAD Seminars: Take introductory courses to learn more about campus resources and leadership opportunities
  • Peer Mentoring: Meet regularly with a current LEAD Scholar and participate in fun activities with a mentoring group


  • Ongoing Advising: Gain support from the LEAD staff throughout college
  • Leadership Opportunities: Become a LEAD Peer Mentor, Peer Educator, or Programming Board Member
  • Funding: Obtain funding for scholarships, emergency expenses, and fellowships such as stipends for unpaid internships, undergraduate research, study abroad programs and more.


  • Vocational Exploration: Prepare for life after graduation with career exploration courses, site visits, and other opportunities
  • Alumni Engagement: After graduation, mentor current students and reconnect through LEAD alumni professional development and social events



A Generous Gift from the Koret Foundation

Koret Foundation

LEAD has received two generous grants from the Koret Foundation: 1.5 million from 2017-2020, and 1.9 million from 2020-2025. This important funding has allowed LEAD to: 

  • Increase the number LEAD Scholars
  • Create year-round peer and alumni mentoring programs
  • Establish a Koret Fellows program to financially support high impact co-curricular opportunities, including undergraduate research, unpaid internships, community-based learning, study abroad, and summer school courses
  • Provide emergency funding to support students with emergency and basic living expenses
  • Offer seminar courses that focus on vocation and career development
  • Hire additional professional staff with a focus on student mental health and well-being

To learn more about the Koret Foundation's first gift, please read the press release