EEP Scholarship Recipients

Creating legacies is key for the Evelyn E. Perkins (EEP) Foundation. The organization was co-founded in 2006 by Michelle Heard, Danessa Jackson, and Trudi Perkins, the daughters of the late Evelyn E. Perkins, an intrepid educator in the region.

Since its inception, the nonprofit’s EEP Scholarship Foundation has granted nearly $50,000 in scholarships to high school students from single-parent homes in several Inland Empire school districts in San Bernardino County, Los Angeles County, and Riverside County.

It has allowed single-household students to overcome financial and higher learning obstacles.

“Education has always been at the highest level of concern with my family,” says Michelle Heard, EEP President. “I come from a long line of educators. But my mother, specifically, started with the Monrovia School District in 1965. They were not even desegregated until 1970. My mother influenced the math lab there. She was listed as one of those influential educators who helped with the Monrovia School District. We’re very proud of our legacy.”

EEP Board of Directors

There’s mindfulness in how EEP is structured. The directors and board members are a diverse mix of business individuals, active and retired educators, community leaders, a former principal, an attorney, the clergy, and others who are passionate about education, And, even more so, perhaps, the impact it can have on young people and throughout the community. Preparing students for future leadership also comes into play.

Through events, workshops, scholarships, and other outreach, the organization strives to help those seeking a secondary education. Based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., the nonprofit assists students who are U.S. citizens in single-parent homes, who carry a minimum 3.0 GPA throughout high school and a letter of acceptance from an approved two-year or four-year college.

“We have a lot of like-minded people on our board who understand the value of education, expanding the parameters of your thinking, and being able to convey that to other young people,” Heard says. “Hopefully, these will help to improve not only human relationships but ways to manage all the worldwide challenges we’re all going through.”

Recently, the Evelyn E. Perkins Foundation received a grant from the IE Black Equity Fund through the Inland Empire Community Foundation. The grant will allow the organization to expand on its various outreach programs.

“Because all of our recipients generally are from single-parent homes, they may have disproportionately not enough funds to either begin a college education,” Heard says. “And even if they have the potential and the grades, college education or college tuition may not be a priority.”

She goes on to point out that the most recent Census Bureau report states that in the U.S., more than 25 percent of households are single-parent households.

“And 80 percent of them are headed by just single mothers,” she adds. “With the banning of Affirmative Action, there’s been a lot of discrepancies on how students are even selected, too. We’re hoping this grant will help us continue to do this work with our workshops, which we’re preparing for spring.

Typically, those occur in May, when many students are finishing the school year. Heard says the workshops inspire as much as they prepare students for getting into college.

“It allows them to enhance their skills in writing because essay writing is a very important component of applying for an application for any college,” she adds. “We know the importance of being able to express yourself in writing and filling out the application properly because that can be one of the things that disqualifies you from the very beginning.

“Being able to have workshops is another benefit of the grant so we can continue to improve the types of information being shared with attendees.”

More at

This article originally appeared in the Press Enterprise, February 2024

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