Our culture and values are the foundation upon which everything we do is built. Having a strong and shared culture is integral to our ability to accomplish our mission. We came together as a staff to discuss our strengths and weaknesses as a team and to formalize the values that bind us together. Our shared values are:

About Denver Scholarship Foundation

Our Mission: 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 makes college possible for thousands of Denver Public Schools’ graduates each year. For many students in Denver, continuing their education beyond high school doesn’t seem like a viable option.

Most often, it’s not low grades or lack of extracurricular activities keeping them from pursuing their dreams. There are thousands of intelligent, hard-working individuals facing the most intimidating barrier to college of all – they think it just isn’t possible. But the Denver Scholarship Foundation is changing that. We’re making college possible for Denver’s students.

How We Do It

Our unique, three-part program for college success has been nationally recognized for its effectiveness.

  1. College Access –

We work proactively with all DPS seniors at our Future Centers located inside DPS high schools.  Each Future Center is staffed by a full-time DSF College Advisor who guides students through the college application and financial aid processes.

Together with our partners and DPS, we reached 2,827 seniors in 2017-18.

  1. Scholarships –

We award need-based scholarships that can be used over four years to DPS graduates attending a community college, university, or technical college in Colorado.

To date, we have awarded $38 million in scholarships to 6,376 Scholars, including 2,238 Graduates.

  1. College Success –

We partner directly with colleges to provide our scholarship recipients with extra financial aid and ongoing support to help them succeed and ultimately graduate.

For every $1 awarded by DSF to our scholarship recipients, our partner colleges award an average of $2 in additional financial aid.  They also provide critical support services, such as mentors, special seminars and tutors to help our scholars succeed.

These strategies are working well for our mostly first-generation scholars – since 2012, 78 percent of all DSF Scholars have graduated or continue to succeed in their program.

Our History

Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF)  makes college possible for thousands of Denver Public Schools graduates each year.

DSF 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 former Mayor John Hickenlooper and former 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 Tim and Bernadette Marquez 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.

DSF began with a pilot program serving three Denver high schools, and by 2009 the program had expanded throughout the district. Today, DSF operates 14 Future Centers serving 21 DPS high schools.