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, 2021-2022!

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...