Bridging the Gap for Students of Color Through Funding and Mentorship

How Minnesota’s Page Education Foundation supports college aspirants of all backgrounds
Apr 1, 2024 2:15 PM ET
Students at an event

The opportunity gap for students of color is a nationwide problem in the United States, but it is particularly prevalent in Minnesota.

Systemic change and funding are needed to reverse the problem, and that’s where the Page Education Foundation comes in.

“Graduation rates tend to be lower among students of color,” says Amanda Moua, executive director of Page Education Foundation. “When the foundation was established over 30 years ago, the founders knew they wanted to focus on Minnesota high school graduates to encourage enrolment in post-secondary education.”

Diane and Alan Page started the foundation in 1988 to encourage Minnesota’s youth of color, generally referring to Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and Asian students, to pursue post-secondary education.

Alan Page is a ceiling-breaker in his own right—as the state’s first elected African American Supreme Court Justice and, before that, a National Football League MVP as a star Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman during the club’s Purple People Eaters era.

Beyond providing funding, the scholarship also has a significant service component to it. After being named a “Page scholar,” recipients must complete 50 hours of volunteer service tutoring with students from kindergarten to Grade 8.

“I think it’s brilliant,” says Moua. “Where other scholarships often focus on merit, the Page grants are awarded to students who demonstrate potential and interest in paying it forward, and giving back to their communities.”

“Who better to deliver the message of the value of education to younger students than the recipients themselves, who have gone through similar experiences?”

Enbridge’s partnership with the Page Education Foundation began in 2022, with $25,000 in Fueling Futures funding provided to date to support various initiatives aimed at reducing educational barriers to students of color.

Last year, our $15,000 Fueling Futures donations supported the foundation’s Justice Flourishing Gala in the spring, and a Justice Alan Page Elimination of Bias Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar in December.

“As a process that usually involves a mountain of paperwork and takes considerable time to secure, we were blown away with how quickly Enbridge got on board to help our cause,” says Moua.

The 2023 Elimination of Bias CLE Seminar concentrated on the elimination of gender bias by addressing toxic work environments and promoting a culture of respect and fairness. The event featured broadcast journalist Gretchen Carlson of Minnesota as the keynote speaker.

Moua has been with the organization for 11 years and is as dedicated as ever to ensuring the next generation of changemakers is a diverse one. Beyond enrolment, she is focused on not only getting students in college, but making sure they stay.

Isolation is a major reason why students don’t continue their post-secondary education path. It’s especially important that students feel connection to their campus and school environment to keep them on track for graduation.

“It’s not just about money,” she says. “Students, particularly minorities, need to be rooted in their community so they can lean on their support to see their educational journey all the way through.”