How Scholarships Help the Students of Today Become the Homebuilders of Tomorrow

With our ongoing housing crisis, it has never been as important to ensure the success of homebuilding than it is right now.

By Marissa Saldivar

For over forty years, the California Homebuilding Foundation (CHF) has helped hard working college students studying for future careers in the homebuilding industry move one step closer to realizing their goals. Students are the future of California’s homebuilding industry and with our ongoing housing crisis, it has never been as important to ensure the success of homebuilding than it is right now. 

As a 501(c)3 non-profit, the Foundation’s mission is to transform the generosity of donors into tangible impact by supporting students who are studying today to become the homebuilders of tomorrow. This real-life impact is carried out through the Foundation’s scholarship program, which awards over 100 sizable scholarships annually from privately-donated endowments. The total amount the Foundation has given to students through scholarships is over $7.5 million to-date.

The funds may go toward paying down student debt, buying books for courses or financially supporting those who chose an unpaid internship over a job that pays, but is unrelated to their studies or future aspirations. The scholarships give students both a financial cushion and encouragement to continue studying fields related to homebuilding, therefore supporting the future of California’s homebuilding industry overall.

“By awarding me a scholarship, you are allowing me to continue to focus on my studies while pursuing a career in housing development in California,” one scholarship recipient from UC Berkeley said last year. “My long-term goal is to improve the broader community by increasing the supply of housing in the market, making it more affordable for all.”

In 2021, individual scholarships ranged from $900 to $10,000 and were awarded to over 118 applicants from over 31 universities. These universities are located in California and other western regions and partner with the Foundation each year to connect talented undergraduate and graduate students with the scholarship program. The Foundation has awarded over $200,000 in scholarship funds each year through these partners, which include public and private universities, UCs and CSUs. Some of the most well-known universities the California Homebuilding Foundation works with to deliver scholarships are UCLA, UC Berkeley, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, San Diego State, Sacramento State, Chapman University and Santa Clara University.

As for the kind of students who received these scholarships, the majority (26%) study construction management, with real estate and architecture following close behind, respectively. According to last year’s survey of scholarship winners, 82% said they intend to pursue a career in the homebuilding industry – up from 75% the year prior. The majority of students receiving the scholarships had either already obtained or intended to obtain industry certification, such as OSHA 10 or LEED. Most recipients also noted that they had one year or less of industry internship experience, while others said they had no work experience at all so far in their field of study. In both of these cases, obtaining a Foundation scholarship can help to boost a student’s resume, aiding them in becoming more competitive and demonstrating their commitment to a future in homebuilding. This can prove to be invaluable for these students once they graduate or begin searching for jobs to enter into the workforce.

According to the California Homebuilding Foundation’s impact report, the field scholarship recipients most commonly reported hoping to get into in their future career is real estate development (25%). Other recipients noted their interest in becoming a project engineer, architect, project manager or estimator. Women made up a large portion of the scholarship recipients, an encouraging sign for the industry given that women are largely underrepresented in construction and homebuilding. 

As of now, many 2022 California Homebuilding Foundation scholarships remain available. Students interested in applying can go to mychf.org to learn more about scholarship availability and the application process. Though individual applications may differ slightly, most will be due by early December of this year.

The California Homebuilding Foundation is also always welcoming new donors for their scholarship programs, as well as partner schools interested in bridging their students with financial resources to encourage their studies. Donor endowments are critical to the Foundation’s ability to carry out its mission: making positive impacts in the lives of students by supporting them in their journey to the exciting and important industry of homebuilding. If you would like to help the California Homebuilding Foundation and students philanthropically, you can go to mychf.org/donate today.

About The California Homebuilding Foundation

The California Homebuilding Foundation is a California-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization paving the way for scholastic success for the state’s next generation builders and a stronger, healthier homebuilding industry. 

Marissa Saldivar is an independently contracted writer for The California Homebuilding Foundation. She currently works as an Associate at ALZA Strategies and is a former CIRB Data Journalism Intern.