Our History


Be A Leader is convinced that every student, regardless of his or her socio-economic status, has the ability to pursue a higher education and share in the American Dream. The foundation has been supporting underprivileged youth for over twenty years through access to technology, financial assistance, personal mentoring, and guidance. In 1995, the founders of Be A Leader Foundation, Gary and Melissa Trujillo, decided they wanted to have an impact on society by changing the educational aspirations of elementary, high school and college students. It was then they determined that families in South Phoenix (where Gary had grown up) did not have access to technology, which drastically reduced their opportunity to develop critical skills to enhance their educational opportunities. The founders of Be A Leader along with others then raised $1,000,000 to create the Roosevelt Community Technology Center (RCTC) in 1996.


Shortly after Be A Leader’s founders began to mentor young students who would frequent the center and soon realized the need to instill in them a college-going mentality. In 2006, Be A Leader signed its first Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Roosevelt Elementary School District (RSD) and created the Valedictorian Club for 8th graders. The program was named the Valedictorian Club in an effort to inspire students to work towards being the Valedictorians on their high school campuses. Since then, the foundation has gone from serving 32 students in RSD to now serving well over 3,400 middle school and high school students a year through the PIPELINE of college-going programs. Over the years the foundation has expanded its menu of programs but has consistently stayed true to its mission. Every program that has been added directly supports the foundation’s mission of increasing the number of college-going students by empowering them to become college bound focused and prepared through leadership training and mentoring.


To date, our programs have supported students in elementary, high school, college and post-graduate programs. Be A Leader highlights include high school sophomores accumulating college scholarships, juniors participating in a one week east coast Ivy League college tour through the Ivy League Project and countless community service hours. We believe that we are achieving our performance target of creating college bound students and ultimately graduates with degrees. The success of our participants is imbedded in the calendar of events for each of our programs. This “college going” exposure provides a wonderful platform for students and families to gain knowledge and build critical skills, and empowers them to increase their intellectual capacity and become more effective contributors to society through leadership and academic success.

Our Financial Supporters