When the Fulfillment Fund began in 1977, we never dreamed we could eventually empower more than 20,000 young people through the power of mentorship and education. This number continues to grow as the Fulfillment Fund’s services evolve to meet the ever-increasing concern of educational inequality. So, how did the Fulfillment Fund as we know it today come to fruition? Check out this timeline to learn more about our 40-year history.
1973 – Gary Gitnick, M.D., a doctor at UCLA Medical Center, decides to sponsor an end-of-the-year holiday party for children with disabilities. His staff have as much fun as the kids do, and from this experience Dr. Gitnick’s idea for the Fulfillment Fund was born.
1977 – Incorporated as a non-profit in 1977, the early Fulfillment Fund mission focuses on the needs of young children and teenagers with disabilities. A career day, leadership camp, introductions to adult mentors with similar abilities, and other events encourage a growing number of young people to dream big and reach for the stars.
1982 – Over time, a troubling pattern becomes clear: Los Angeles students are falling through the cracks due to under-resourced schools and communities. The Fulfillment Fund broadens its mission to include students of all abilities, and in the mid-1980s starts to provide college scholarships and motivational events to youth from under-resourced communities. Students are matched with adult role models during events, and these role model-student pairs often stay in touch throughout the year.
1988 – Andrea Cockrum joins the Fulfillment Fund as Executive Director and the first full-time staff member.
1991 – The Friends of the Fulfillment Fund auxiliary support group is founded by Cherna Gitnick.
1991 – The Fulfillment Fund begins to focus on ensuring high school graduation as well as access to, and completion of, a college education. The role model program is formalized into a full Mentor Program.
1995 – College counseling services are formalized, along with scholarship and internships for students.
1996 – The Fulfillment Fund begins providing classroom-based instruction to prepare students for college, and our college readiness workshop day, Destination College, is hosted for the first time.
1998 – The Fulfillment Fund is named the best community-based mentoring program in California by the California Mentoring Initiative.
1999 – The Fulfillment Fund Alumni Association is formed. Today, the group provides ongoing support, networking opportunities, events and more to Fulfillment Fund alumni who have graduated high school.
2002 – The Fulfillment Fund celebrates its 25th Anniversary.
2012 – Fulfillment Fund opens a new college access program in Las Vegas to serve the needs of the students at two Title I partner high schools. Today, Fulfillment Fund Las Vegas serves 1,700 high students and has awarded $742,500 in scholarships to students in two-year, four year and certificate programs.
2015 – A Digital Badging program is piloted to help inspire students get college-ready by participating in an online suite of workshops, educational games and videos.
2017 – The Fulfillment Fund celebrates 40 years of empowering youth through education.
Present Day – Today, the Fulfillment Fund’s wide array of programs serve more than 3,000 students a year in Los Angeles.