Chevron grant to move into ‘capable hands’

Civic Center Plaza hosts first Richmond Promise scholarship workshops


Cody Casares / The Advocate

Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay discuses the Richmond Promise Scholarship program in the Richmond City Council Chambers on Jan. 27.

By Cody Casares, Photo Editor

RICHMOND — High school seniors and their parents gathered in the Richmond City Council Chambers on Wednesday for the first of several workshops designed to help students apply for Chevron’s $35 million Richmond Promise scholarship program.

While the city is currently managing the scholarship program, it will pass on all responsibility to another organization, Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay said.

“We are going to move this to a separate nonprofit organization, but the city is helping to patch this now,” Lindsay said. “After it takes flight it will be in the capable hands of Jessie Stewart who is the brand new executive director of the Richmond Promise Organization.”

The Richmond Promise is a Chevron funded $35 million scholarship program available to high school seniors who graduate within West Contra Costa Unified School District starting with the high school seniors graduating in 2016, Lindsay said.

Those students who meet the requirements are eligible to receive up to $1,500 for either a four-year university or community college of their choice.

“The Richmond Promise is brand new for us as it is brand new for you, so we’re all kind of learning about it and inventing it together as we go,” Lindsay said. “There aren’t too many of these (programs) in the U.S. There are somewhere between 20 and 30 of varying sizes and our program is very ambitious — and we believe that in just matter of several years we will be among the very biggest programs of its kind.”

According to, as of Jan. 2, applicants must be Richmond residents who have attended a high school within  WCCUSD for at least four years.

“It’s a great program to reach out to high school students who want to go to college,” El Cerrito High School senior Omar Mendoza said.

John F. Kennedy High School senior David Flores said, “I’ll be the first in my family to go to college and I want to use my education to support the community.

“I want to major in psychology and open up my own business here in Richmond as a marriage family therapist,” Flores said. “The Richmond Promise will help and we can use all the help we can get.”

He said he was recently accepted to San Francisco State.

Vincent and Dahynelia Hunley, whose son attends a private school within WCCUSD, both said it is great to finally have a program that applies to students in private schools as well as public schools.

“It feels good to be paying all these taxes to public schools and finally be able to get something back,” Vincent Hunley said. “Our son’s school let us know about (the Richmond Promise) and we decided to come check it out because of the eligibility and simplicity of it all.”

Dahynelia Hunley said, “The City of Richmond worked a deal to help our children.”  

Lindsay said the scholarship program aims to do more than just provide financial support for graduating high school students.

“Writing checks is the easy part,” he said. “We want to try to influence the system to be able to provide good college readiness and education for students as well — and that of course prepares them for the work force.”

Lindsay said the program hopes students with the Richmond Promise build connections and come back to Richmond later and support the growth of the community.