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The Liberty Hill Foundation offers scholarships to LGBT dreamers

LGBT Dreamers Fund

This summer, the Liberty Hill Foundation collected $75,000 in donations to provide scholarships for LGBT individuals applying for deferred action. Applicants must meet the following criteria to be awarded the $465 scholarship that covers application fees:

*Identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT)
*Be an undocumented individual who is applying for deferred action

SOURCE: Darrell L. Tucci, Chief development officer and director of donor services at the Liberty Hill Foundatiom

Compiled by Katherine Hafner, Bruin senior staff.

By Nicole Chiang

Oct. 1, 2012 2:04 a.m.

Undocumented lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students applying to stay in the United States as part of deferred action may be able to get financial assistance through a new scholarship being offered by a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization.

In June, President Barack Obama introduced the deferred action program, which allows undocumented individuals to apply for a work permit and stay in the U.S. without being deported if they meet a set of requirements.

Applications for deferred action cost $465.

The Liberty Hill Foundation, a nonprofit organization that focuses on economic and environmental justice and lesbian and gay rights, is offering the scholarships ““ which total about $75,000 ““ for 160 LGBT undocumented individuals to cover the cost of the deferred action application on a first-come, first-served basis, said Darrell L. Tucci, chief development officer and director of donor services at Liberty Hill.

Applicants can come from anywhere in the nation, including UCLA, but they must be undocumented, self-identify as LGBT and meet government requirements for deportation deferral, Tucci said.

“Undocumented students often lack access to regular funds,” said Ronald Johnson, director of financial aid at UCLA. “Any resources available to these students would certainly be of great assistance (for these students).”

The Liberty Hill Foundation collected money for the LGBT Dreamers Fund from local businesses, organizations and individuals, Tucci said.

One of the major donors was the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, which initially brought the idea of opening the scholarship fund to Libery Hill, said Kristin Aldana-Taday, the deputy director of donor services at Liberty Hill.

The idea to create a scholarship was in line with the Liberty Hill Foundation’s mission statement, Aldana-Taday said.

Leaders of the Haas, Jr. Fund announced at the start of the program that for every dollar donated to the LGBT Dreamers Fund, the Haas, Jr. Fund would contribute two dollars, said Matt Foreman, the program director at the Haas, Jr. Fund.

Countless individuals and various organizations donated to the cause, with the Haas foundation contributing $50,000 of the final $75,000 raised through the campaign, he said.

Liberty Hill started accepting applications on Sept. 21 and has since then reached the full capacity of applicants, Aldana-Taday said.

But organizers hope to keep the program going and are still accepting donations for the next batch of scholarships, she said.

The foundation hopes to re-open the application process should more funds become available, Tucci said.

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Nicole Chiang
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