Jorge Valencia began his tenure as the Point Foundation’s Executive Director and CEO in January 2007. He brings Point a wealth of experience in managing and growing non-profit organizations, a proven ability to design and manage the infrastructure of expanding organizations, and extensive experience with, and sensitivity to, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth issues.
How has your mission and .ORG grown in your Foundation’s 20 years?
Point Foundation has grown dramatically through our 20-plus years in terms of scale and scope. Our scholar cohort has grown from eight students supported by our first LGBTQ scholarship, to 522 awarded students this academic year. Because demand continues to grow, we intend to keep supporting more students with the help of our network and donors. To meet this demand, we have grown our offerings to provide not only more scholarships to students, but additional support to students. Our programs now include presentations and discussions on critical academic and life skills, such as a community college transfer workshop to financial planning skill building. We also provide mentorship and coaching by matching students with allies and LGBTQ leaders who align with our students’ career goals and culture.
Why is it important to build a sense of community between Point Foundation scholars?
Our more than 500 awarded students as well as more than 700 alumni create a community of affirming support, and a professional network for our students to leverage. Many scholars come from places where there aren’t other LGBTQ people like them, living openly. Having hundreds of other students and alumni available helps our students live authentically with the confidence they need to overcome the very real challenges LGBTQ people still have in our colleges and universities— not to mention broader communities nationwide. Point Scholars work together to troubleshoot problems, like what to do when they don’t receive the LGBTQ services and support they need from their school. Alumni and students also inspire each other to pursue their college goals and continue on to their career dreams where our graduates are making major impacts in the world.
How does Point Foundation’s mentorship program help set scholars up for success both personally and professionally?
Point’s mentors and coaches can help students who don’t always have support at home or in their communities, to push through barriers to academic success. Our volunteers often come from similar backgrounds or hold leadership positions in the students’ goal area of work. This way, when students encounter things from discrimination to difficult project deadlines, our mentors can provide steps to work through those difficulties. Our mentors also give our students a peek into what life is like in the students’ target field, inspiring our students to be LGBTQ leaders in any area of work.
Why did you choose .ORG for your domain?
To pursue our mission to help LGBTQ students access and succeed at college, we need the trust of donors as well as our students. When we established our website, we selected the .ORG domain to increase our visibility as a trustworthy and professional organization.
To learn more about Point Foundation visit https://thenew.org/org-in-action/point-foundation/