Women’s Education & Leadership Institute

About Women’s Education & Leadership Institute

The Women’s Education & Leadership Institute (WELI) program was founded in early 2011 by community leaders who saw a need to advance the education and economic status of women and families in Monterey County. The WELI program consists of summer leadership training, an on-campus, student-lead WELI club, a powerful mentorship with community leaders and a $2,000 financial award per student, making this a life-changing experience.

Since its inception in 2011, the WELI program has graduated more than 250 scholars and granted approximately $500,000 in scholarships.

WELI serves women who are socio-economically disadvantaged. Despite the life challenges that WELI scholars face, they have been able to achieve outstanding outcomes through the support of the program and its members.

    • 97% of students state that WELi helped them achieve their personal, professional, and academic goals.
    • In terms of transfer, WELI scholars transfer at a 65% rate overall, versus 38% when compared with other female students  who are enrolled in at least 9 units with at least a 2.5 grade point average.
    • Demographically, 84% of our current students receive financial aid, 63% are the first in their family to attend college, and 52% are mothers.

Statistics support that a college-educated woman is more likely to become financially self-sufficient and pursue a meaningful career. The education level of a mother is a strong indicator of the success her daughters and sons will have as adults. WELI provides the four keys: resources, education, social support, and mentorship. 

Watch to find out more about the Women’s Education and Leadership Institute from mentors, supporters and scholars! 

Support WELI 2023!

Thank you to our founding donors!

WELI Mentor Spotlight: Emily Nicholl

Emily Nicholl decided to become a Women’s Education & Leadership Institute (WELI) Mentor in early 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down and forced the nation into SIP and Hartnell College students into virtual classrooms.  Emily is a...

WELI Mentor Spotlight: Monica Tovar

Monica Tovar, Director of Sales for KWAV, 101.7 The Beach, The Hippo, KPIG and 95.5 BOB Women’s Education & Leadership Institute Mentor “I could tell you all day long about the obstacles I’ve faced,” Monica reflects.  Growing up in East Salinas, it’s easy to focus...

WELI Scholar Spotlight: Cindy Lopez

“I was never a good student." I have dyslexia and my entire high school experience felt like a frustrating waste of time and effort. My parents were not educated and didn’t know how to help me. In my senior year, I became pregnant and that seemed like a...