Donor Activism,Philanthropy,Youth & Transformative Justice

Bertha Wolfe Scholarship: Ellie in Her Own Words

January 28, 2021
By raymond

For more than 15 years, The Bertha Wolf & Lance Miller Families Fund for Community Service has been uplifting young adults by providing relief from the cost of living as they embark on their journey as professionals or in service to the community. 

Established by two generous donors, The Bertha Wolf & Lance Miller Families Fund is a Liberty Hill Foundation program that provides six or more young people ages 18-25 with a stipend of at least $6,500 each. Eligible applicants work at a local nonprofit organization in Southern California and are provided with a stipend to cover basic living expenses (e.g., rent, food, utilities, transportation and childcare). Applications open on February 1, 2021 and the deadline to apply online is March 15, 2021. 

In both 2019 and 2020, Liberty Hill was thrilled to offer the stipend to Elizeth Virrueta working at the Youth Justice Coalition (YJC), a community partner of Liberty Hill focusing on ending youth incarceration as we know it. Below Elizeth shares her experience as an awardee and the importance of this unique scholarship program. 

To learn more or apply to The Bertha Wolf & Lance Miller Families Fund for Community Service click here

Ellie In Her Own Words:

My name is Elizeth, or Ellie for short, I am a lead youth organizer with the Youth Justice Coalition based out of South Central Los Angeles. In 2019 and 2020, I was awarded the Bertha Wolf & Lance Miller Families Fund for Community Service scholarship. 

As an undocumented woman of color with no access to health care, this award allowed me to prioritize my health and overall well-being. Seeking medical and dental attention was something that I always dreaded given the exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses. This opportunity allowed me to dedicate time to prioritize my physical health for the first time in my life.

These types of awards are of the utmost importance, especially for young people who have historically been disenfranchised and face multiple barriers. All other scholarships I have seen are strictly for educational and/or the coordination of projects. While opportunities like that are extremely beneficial, they do neglect and overlook the day-to-day burdens that vulnerable communities are faced with. Many of us struggle with making ends meet and are inundated with other living costs that may prevent us or may hinder our educational “success” and may disqualify us from applying for those types of scholarships.

The Bertha Wolf & Lance Miller Families Fund for Community Service Award is unique in the sense that the foundation seeks to support and cover living costs while working with a non-profit. The stipend that I received allowed me to cover medical, dental, and other living costs that deterred me from fully engaging in productive work. Not having such a huge financial burden allowed me to be more productive both at work and at school. I have since graduated with a Bachelors in Communication from Cal State Los Angeles.

About the Youth Justice Coalition

The Youth Justice Coalition is working to build a youth, family, and formerly and currently incarcerated people’s movement to challenge America’s addiction to incarceration and race, gender and class discrimination in Los Angeles County’s, California’s and the nation’s juvenile and criminal injustice systems. The YJC’s goal is to dismantle policies and institutions that have ensured the massive lock-up of people of color, widespread law enforcement violence and corruption, consistent violation of youth and communities’ Constitutional and human rights, the construction of a vicious school-to-jail track, and the build-up of the world’s largest network of jails and prisons.