The Fulfillment Fund was created in 1977 as a small holiday party for disabled children. Through the course of the next several years, it expanded its mission to include able-bodied youth. Its approach is based on the idea that young people need comprehensive, structured mentoring approaches if they are to avoid gangs, drugs, and early parenthood. Currently, the Fulfillment Fund is one of the largest private donors of college scholarships and monetary awards to students in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
The Fulfillment Fund has provided over 1,800 youth with a comprehensive portfolio of program activities, all designed to increase the likelihood that disadvantaged youth will attain degrees in higher education. It offers two types of mentoring programs: One is a five-year one-on-one comprehensive mentoring program that begins in the 7th grade; the other is a three-year, classroom-based program for high school students. The College Counseling Program provides students with a broad array of professional college counseling services, including financial aid and career counseling, day and overnight college visits, and preparation workshops for standardized tests. The Community Service Projects Program connects students and their mentors with community service activities that teach the importance of both volunteerism and community building. The Fulfillment Fund also offers an internship program that places students in paying jobs with local businesses and corporations. There is also the College Scholarship Program that guarantees every student in the mentor programs a $5,000 college scholarship, spread over five years, if they matriculate to college.
The Fulfillment Fund has a proven track record of successfully changing the lives of participating youth. For example, 86% of students who complete the five-year mentor program graduate from high school, compared to 64% of their fellow students. Also, the enrollment rate of the fund's black students in the California State University (CSU) system is triple that of all California students, and the enrollment rate of Latino students in CSU institutions is double that of all students in the state.