Why Support Higher Education ScholarshipsBy David Thompson, UniversityHerald Reporter
San Diego Philanthropist David Malcolm Speaks on the Importance of Higher Education and Scholarship Opportunities
Receiving a higher education can open doors of opportunity in the professional world and increase knowledge to contribute to building a better society. However, according to the Education Data Initiative, since 2010, the number of undergraduate students across the nation has decreased by roughly six percent. Though college is not for everyone, financial support such as scholarships helps fill the gap to grant those who desire it access to higher education.
Few understand this better than San Diego philanthropist David Malcolm, who, after 40 years of success in the real estate industry, still prioritizes his local community, as well as those striving to build a better life through higher education. Providing educational equity through scholarship opportunities is one of the many ways Malcolm continues to "pay it forward."
"I make it a point to help more and invest time into more people than I was helped during my career," said David Malcolm. "I like to say, 'The world is round.' If you do the 'right thing' by helping others, you somehow are 'repaid' with good that comes your way. I receive joy and satisfaction from watching those I have supported and/or mentored create great businesses and loving families."
Before higher education became a focal point of the David Malcolm Family Trust and Malcolm's philanthropic endeavors, he invested 30+ years towards helping the San Diego homeless, alongside the late Father Joe Carroll. Though he is no longer the Chair or on the Executive Board of St. Vincent de Paul Management (part of Father's Joe's Villages), his commitment and passion for the less fortunate are recognized to this day.
"Walking into a restaurant and having a formerly homeless individual recognize me and thank me for my years of helping the homeless get back into productive society with dignity is truly a rewarding experience. The more you give, the more you get back in what truly matters in life," stated Malcolm.
In recent years, Malcolm has served as a philanthropic advisor to the Bashor family. Their combined efforts resulted in a sizable donation to the San Diego Zoo, which significantly improved the park's accessibility by subsidizing a bridge across a major canyon, free admission for active-duty military and an earlier opening time for wounded warriors to learn to navigate the terrain without facing large crowds.
"I am truly blessed to be in a position to help others," stated Malcolm. "However, this also means I have to say no to many good causes. I take philanthropy very seriously and weigh every opportunity, which is why I can honestly say that today, more than ever, education is of the utmost importance."
The United States and worldwide data collected for scholarship statistics reflected that the majority of college students enrolled utilized scholarships to assist in paying for school. When the industry is viewed as a whole, 19 percent of college costs are covered through scholarships and grants. However, only five percent of students working towards their bachelor's degree have received enough scholarship funding to pay for 100 percent of their education.
In short, there is a significant opportunity for philanthropists to play a role in ensuring more equity in higher education for future generations, and that is just what Malcolm is doing.
"We all want a better United States. If we as a country are going to improve, it must come from the next governing generation. My wife and I believe in our youth, and the need to help young leaders achieve their academic dreams," said Malcolm.
In response to the financial hardships brought on by COVID-19, along with his mission to build a better present and future, Malcolm and his wife, Annie, got to work launching the David Malcolm Scholarship in 2021. The $2,500 scholarship was designed with current and prospective college students in mind who have overcome significant hurdles and are looking to continue their educational careers.
"COVID-19 created financial hardships in many families. We did not want young people and their families who suffered financial loss due to COVID to 'lose hope.' My wife and I thought we had an obligation to step up and help those who needed help during a very difficult couple of years," stated Malcolm.
After the overwhelming application response to the initial 2021 scholarship, Malcolm and his wife renewed the scholarship for 2022. Eligible students must submit an essay highlighting a current obstacle, explaining how the scholarship will help them overcome it and how higher education will help them become an inspirational success story.
The David Malcolm Scholarship was not the only community contribution made in the name of education in response to the coronavirus pandemic in 2021. Malcolm and his wife also felt it their duty as philanthropists to donate $100,000 to The San Diego Foundation's Community Scholars Initiative from the David Malcolm Family Trust. Their gift financially and academically supported the educational pursuit of 38 students from low-income backgrounds who are also first-generation and underrepresented.
"Graduating with unmanageable debt is no fun. We hope our scholarships will help provide some measure of the financial freedom needed for these new leaders," said Malcolm.
About David Malcolm
David Malcolm is a San Diego businessman and philanthropist well-known for his extensive public and community service. During Mr. Malcolm's tenure as Chula Vista City Councilmember, the City made the largest annexations in California history. He personally secured a $1 million donation from Conrad Hilton to construct the City's Olympic Training Center.