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 200 scholars and granted approximately $400,000 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 achieve their personal academic goals. 72% of WELI scholars have graduated with a certificate or       degree, versus 41% of women with the same GPA who were not in WELI.
    • 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, 2020-2021

An awesome way to connect with your community and make a difference in the lives of women seeking to improve their futures through education.


Due to the global pandemic, we will need to wait until 2021 to come together and celebrate the Women’s Education & Leadership Institute (WELI) at our annual Forum. But now, more than ever, we need to come together and support our incoming WELI cohort. 25 amazing students are counting on us to raise funds to provide scholarships and mentoring for them this Fall.

What is a WOW-CON?

We are inviting YOU to create your own WOW-CON with your inner circle, your WOW team, your COOLEST colleagues, your BAM glam squad.

Social distancing 10K walk? AWESOME! Social distancing cocktails on the deck? COOL! Social distancing paint party? BAM!!

Set a goal, make a plan to WOW-CON, tell everyone!

Ask your peeps to join you for your WOW-CON live or online and ask them to support your efforts to support WELI!

Our Women of WELI will win great prizes!

  • Every WOW participant who raises $250 or more receives an awesome Goodie Bag
  • Raise $500+ and receive some super tasty wine
  • Raise $1000+ and receive a WOW Yeti cup
  • Raise $1500+ and receive all of the above goodies
  • Raise $2000+ and receive an engraved brick recognizing you or your company at the main campus courtyard
  • Raise $2500+ and receive two tickets to the WELI Forum in 2021
  • Raise $5000+ and receive all of the above prizes!

Make it a Challenge!

Recruit friends and family members to participate with you. Challenge each other with some friendly competition. It’s always fun to work toward a goal with someone cheering you on and challenging you to succeed along the way.

Double Your Pledges! Does your company have a matching gift policy?

Fill out the necessary paperwork with your company and double your donation! Encourage your sponsors to ask their companies for matching gift forms too.

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...