Meet our Founder

Mr. Tapia Posing with his Thomas Jefferson Award

Catalino's Story

Catalino Tapia came to the United States at age 20 with $6 in his pocket. He worked hard. as a baker and a machine operator and eventually started his own gardening business.

Mr. Tapia and his wife bought a home in Redwood City and raised their two sons, putting the youngest through college. Though he never studied beyond sixth grade, Tapia was so inspired to see his son, Noel, graduate from Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley that he decided to help other young people make it to college.

With legal help from his son, Catalino established a nonprofit corporation, the Bay Area Gardeners Scholarship Foundation, in 2003. He began to raise money for scholarships by approaching his wealthy clients and fellow gardeners and found tremendous support for his vision of helping young people achieve a college education. On November 3rd of, 2021, the Board of Directors announced that the Bay Area Gardeners Scholarship Foundation was legally named Catalino Tapia Scholarship Foundation (CTSF) in honor of our Founder Catalino Tapia.

Catalino’s story has traveled worldwide, being featured in media outlets throughout the United States, Mexico, Latin America, and Europe. His story is a reminder that no matter your upbringing or how much money you have, we can each make a difference and have a profound impact on future generations.

Mission Statement

The Catalino Tapia Scholarship Foundation is dedicated to providing financial assistance and support to scholars from underserved communities in San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties. Our mission is to break down barriers to higher education by offering scholarships, mentorship, workshops, and resources that enable students to pursue their academic and career goals. Through our commitment to equity and access, we aim to empower students to succeed academically, personally, and professionally, fostering a more inclusive and prosperous society for all.

Vision Statement

The Catalino Tapia Scholarship Foundation envisions a future where every student can pursue and achieve their educational dreams. We aspire to be a beacon of hope, empowering students from all backgrounds to unlock their potential, break barriers, and create a brighter future for themselves and their communities through access to higher education.