The gift from Eckles, a retired businessman and philanthropist, will be used to establish an endowment and provide funding for the new Office of Pre-College Programs, which is tasked with coordinating the Youth Entrepreneurs at Haas mentoring program (YEAH) and other initiatives working to develop a stronger, clearer path to college for underresourced youth. The gift also will be used to create a $100,000 Diversity and Social Impact Fund for smaller projects proposed by different Haas School units and student groups.
Students in YEAH programs typically are the first in their families to attend college, live in low-income households, attend public schools, and earn average grades. To date, every student who completes the program has graduated from high school and gone on to attend college.
With support from Eckles, the Office of Pre-College Programs has already launched the College Ambassador Program to help support YEAH graduates after they begin college. This year, YEAH will work to create a network of ambassadors — both YEAH and Haas graduates — at colleges where YEAH class of 2012 graduates have matriculated.
"We are deeply grateful for David Eckles' generous contribution to our school," said Haas School dean Rich Lyons. "Though differences can present challenges, we at Berkeley-Haas see them as a source of strength and innovative ideas. Diversity is also central to the core mission of the University of California. David's gift will enable us to map additional pathways to college and to the Haas School for students who might not otherwise have access."