Ebony Davis was a high school graduate with a 3.98 grade point average. “I worked hard because I wanted to go to college and have choices,” explains the Lake Stevens native. A family crisis during her senior year changed everything and suddenly a college degree was in doubt. “There was no money for tuition,” Davis says. When she received a University of Washington Diversity Scholarship, it was “a blessing.”
Costco Wholesale, Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery and Safeco Insurance have partnered with the UW in support of the Diversity Scholars Program, which was created in 2000 to recruit and support high-achieving underrepresented minority students like Ebony Davis. The program is part of an intensive effort by the University to educate Washingtonians from all backgrounds. When financial assistance is offered to minority students, the enrollment rate of those accepted to the UW increases from 38 to 80 percent.
UW Regent and Costco Founder Jeffrey Brotman, ’64, ’67, who is the host of the Costco Scholarship Breakfast, champions corporate participation in the Diversity Scholars Program. “As employers, we want a confident, capable workforce that reflects our diverse society,” says Brotman. “This means removing barriers to education and helping talented people succeed.”
Successful annual events hosted by Costco, Chateau Ste. Michelle and Safeco have raised more than $7 million for the Diversity Scholars Program, funding four-year, full-tuition scholarships for minority students. Another $5 million has been raised toward a $20-million endowment to support campus-wide diversity efforts.