The Pasadena Community Foundation (PCF) announced today that it has received the largest gift in its history: $10 million from the Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation to establish the Margie and Robert E. The endowment will create the Petersen Scholars Program, which will provide critical support to transitional-age adoptees in the Pasadena and Los Angeles area who wish to pursue vocational and technical education/vocational training.
The Petersen Scholars Program will help improve lives by enabling this group of young people to achieve dignity and economic independence through education, training and sustainable employment. Launched in 2022 with the support of nonprofit community and college partners, the program is designed to remove typical obstacles faced by transitional young adopters as they pursue their education.
Despite financial aid and free tuition at community colleges, significant funding gaps remain for this population, resulting in low college completion rates. Students participating in the Petersen Scholars Program will receive an annual subsidy for two years to help with a funding shortfall. The program will start with a small group of young people in the fall of 2022 with the goal of eventually supporting 90 students annually.
“We are honored by the opportunity to oversee this important legacy,” says Jennifer Devol, President and CEO of PCF. These students face additional challenges as they transition into adulthood, and the availability of comprehensive support for financial, social, emotional, and challenging needs will allow them to focus on priorities and general well-being. The Petersen Scholars Program will expand opportunities for young adopters of transitional age to achieve their career goals.”
The Margie & Robert E. Petersen Foundation was founded in 1997 by Robert Petersen, publishing magnate and founder of the Petersen Automotive Museum, along with his wife Margie. Throughout their lives, Petersens has given tirelessly to support the Southern California community they loved, including gifts for the Petersen Museum, Music Center, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and more. The couple also prioritized the well-being of children, and the foundation has long supported care for the young and at-risk, children’s health initiatives, and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where Margie served as a member of the board of trustees for a decade starting in the mid-1990s. Robert passed away in 2007 at the age of 80. Margie passed away in 2011 at the age of 76.