The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Mount Saint Mary's University Student Ambassadors Program

Grant Information
Categories Education
Location United States
Cycle Year 2022
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Mount Saint Mary's University
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Mount saint marys university
EIN 95-1641455
Contact Information
Contact Name Mr. Braden Hammer
Phone (310) 500-6683
10 Chester Place
Building 8
Los angeles
Additional Information
Used for Mount Saint Mary’s University (MSMU) respectfully requests a grant of $10,000 from the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation in support of our Community Student Ambassadors Program. Established over twenty years ago, the Ambassadors program provides support, guidance, and inspiration for youth in under-resourced Los Angeles-area middle and high schools and after-school programs to pursue a college education. Peer mentoring and academic assistance services are provided by current MSMU undergraduate students known as Ambassadors.
Benefits Ambassadors inspire and empower young women of color from underrepresented backgrounds, and in many cases attending under-resourced schools and after-school programs. In turn, the program enables Ambassadors to grow their leadership and communication skills reinforce their own commitment to academic success. The recent pandemic highlighted and exacerbated challenges faced by students in Los Angeles-area schools, and renewed support from the Dougherty Foundation would have a positive impact in surmounting these community challenges.
Proposal Description

THE NEED: The majority of students served by MSMU’s Ambassador program are Latina/o, live in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in South and Central Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, and are from families facing significant financial challenges. Their parents often work multiple jobs and lack the time and prior experience to assist their children in the college preparation and application process. To help students navigate these obstacles, we train and assign current MSMU undergraduates, known as Ambassadors, to area middle and high schools and community youth organizations to assist onsite counselors in advising students about the college search, application, and financial aid process. Through this program, MSMU students develop their own leadership skills and realize their commitment to community service, while earning a stipend to help meet their financial need as university students.

THE BENEFICIARIES: The majority of students served by the Ambassador program live in low-income neighborhoods in south and central Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, and often come from families lacking a college-bound culture. The Student Ambassador Program utilizes peers who are often assigned to partner locations in the same neighborhood in which they grew up—sometimes even the same school they attended—thereby serving as powerful role models for the younger students they engage.

Additionally, the program has a strong partnership with high school college counselors. Many counselors have expressed their belief that the program enables them to better meet the needs of their first-generation college-bound students. In many cases, Ambassadors collaborate with the counselors on their existing caseload. MSMU’s Student Affairs team meets with counselors each year, and they share information on student progress. They frequently express their thanks to MSMU for providing this impactful program to students and their families, and that they (the counselors) cannot imagine what they would do without our collaboration. In addition, the program has a positive impact on the Ambassadors themselves, contributing greatly to their leadership skills and reinforcing their own pursuit of academic excellence.

KEY ACTIVITIES: Ambassadors are full-time traditional undergraduates enrolled at MSMU. They receive comprehensive training before they are assigned to a partner site so that they fully understand college admissions requirements and financial aid policies. This supplements their own knowledge gained after going through the college admission and financial aid process themselves. They are trained in multicultural issues, and interpersonal, communication, and leadership skills. Ambassadors work 10 to 15 hours per week at an assigned site, which is either a school or a nonprofit-based after-school program. Ambassadors work directly with partner site staff to provide information and consistent mentorship to students to guide them through the necessary steps in applying for college and seeking financial support for their education. In addition, they provide greatly needed one-on-one assistance with homework, college application forms, and other college concerns students may have. All Ambassadors receive NASPA’s Certified Peer Educator (CPE) Training (see attached curriculum). Ambassadors receive ongoing guidance and mentorship through monthly training sessions and one-on-one meetings with program managers and their site supervisors.

Current and past partner locations include: A Place Called Home (South Central Los Angeles); Bishop Conaty – Our Lady of Loretto High School (Koreatown); Crenshaw High School; Downtown Magnet High School; Franklin High School (Highland Park); Immaculate Conception (downtown); Manual Arts High School (South Los Angeles); Sacred Heart (Lincoln Heights); Santa Monica Police Activities League; St. Mary's Academy (Inglewood); and Variety Boys and Girls Club (Boyle Heights).   

Ambassadors also engage with large student groups at community events such as “Expanding Your Horizons.” This is a math and science conference for middle school girls that traditionally takes place on the MSMU campus.

EVALUATION: The Student Ambassador Program is housed in the Division of Student Affairs. Student Affairs staff oversee the Ambassadors, the overall implementation of the program, and evaluate the program in several ways:

  • Student self-monitoring: Students complete surveys about their educational and career goals, and monitor their progress toward those goals as they work with an Ambassador.
  • Monthly reporting: Ambassadors submit reports approved by site supervisors (usually high school guidance counselors) detailing their site visits (number of students they assisted, type of assistance they provided, any concerns or issues identified, etc.). The site supervisors are in ongoing communication with MSMU Program Managers to provide feedback.
  • To provide an opportunity to reflect on the past year and set goals for the coming year, Program Managers hold an end-of-year evaluation meeting with Ambassadors.

BUDGET: This grant from the Foundation will help pay for MSMU’s current corps of Ambassadors plus two student managers in 2023, as they produce and conduct weekly workshops, outreach presentations, and individualized tutoring and academic counseling to hundreds of youth in underserved communities; and other Ambassador program needs during 2023.

MSMU allocates approximately $5,000 per Ambassador per year ($2,500/semester), based on an hourly rate. Since the increasing return to full on-campus instruction at MSMU this academic year, in 2023 we hope to recruit additional Ambassadors to our current corps. This will depend largely on the success of pending applications for funding.

Another important budget item is support for Ambassadors’ transportation to partner sites. Coming as they do from low-income families, many Ambassadors lack their own transportation, and rely on public transit and rideshare apps to travel to their assigned sites. Grant funds will support Ambassadors’ transportation to partner sites as needed. The program budget also includes the cost of certified peer educator training; supplies for Ambassador presentations and workshops at partner sites; food and supplies for Ambassador training retreats (once per semester); Ambassador uniform shirts and jackets; and Ambassador padfolios.

REQUEST: A $10,000 grant from the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation for the Student Ambassador Program would make a positive impact in the program’s success. The financial impact of the recent pandemic continues to be felt by previous funders of the program who are still unable to renew their funding, which has limited our ability to partner with as many sites as we would wish. We are deeply grateful for the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation’s past support; a full, end-of-year report on the impact of the Foundation’s previous grant is pending. Thank you for the positive impact you have made in the lives of MSMU students, and the students they support and inspire. 


  • NASPA Training Overview
  • 501(c)(3) letter