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Growing Inland Achievement (GIA) is pleased to announce our 2020 Innovation Award recipients. Innovation Awards are two-year $150,000 awards provided to organizations with plans to support and facilitate student success in the bi-county region of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.

This year, four organizations have been selected, including:

Barstow Community College

  • Funding will support the development of an instrument to measure student “creative confidence,” as well as an outreach campaign based on “college is for all” messaging. It will also help 8th-grade students attend creative learning activities to improve awareness about workplace skills and knowledge.

California State University, San Bernardino – Inland Empire Fellowship Program

  • Funding will be used to recruit and train 22 academic fellows per academic year from the CSUSB Undocumented Student Success Center, Office of Pre-College Programs, and 2020 alumni. Fellows will receive professional development, while working on completion campaigns, mentoring, and advising students toward achieving college degrees.

Promise Scholars Ontario-Montclair Schools Foundation

  • Funding will be used to implement the “College is 4 You” project that focuses on reaching African American males and other underserved groups to close the equity gap in education. Campaign messaging of “College is 4 You” will be promoted through a regional marketing campaign. High school students will serve as brand ambassadors who will help with social media marketing while Promise Scholars College Advisors will support and guide brand ambassadors. Activities include workshops, values affirmations exercises, video messages, social media posts, and texting campaigns.

Riverside County Office of Education – Magnify the Middle

  • Funding will help to increase middle school awareness of college eligibility and providing a systematic prep system leading to 9th-grade A-G on-track schedule. Activities will include a monthly meeting to share ideas at sites, middle school transcript analysis (HS readiness indicator), site-based parent engagement programs, and a “College Making it Happen” themed event for middle school students.

“We’re very excited about the 2020 Innovation Award recipients because these four organizations have an exceptional track record of facilitating college and career success for students in the Inland Empire,” said Dr. Ayala, President at CEO at GIA. “They also place equity at the forefront of their programs to ensure student success.”

Innovation Award funding provides $150,000 over two years while encouraging the contribution of local resources through a 50% matching requirement to promote sustainability and organizational capacity. This year’s awards were solicited by GIA’s regional Action Network Teams to ensure that the work is aligned with GIA’s goals. All awardees are required to have partnerships to implement the activities as well as a scalability plan to share the successes with the region. GIA has distributed nearly 2-million dollars in Innovation Award funding since 2017. To see a list of past awardees, please visit GIA’s website at

Growing Inland Achievement is a bi-county, educational collaborative in the Inland Empire that brings together leaders across K-20 education, civic, and business sectors. GIA organizes and collaborates with the Inland Empire educational network to create innovative practices that achieve large-scale social and institutional change.

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