A TEAM PLAYER
A California native, Jamie Back grew up in San Jacinto, a small
farming community in Riverside County, in Southern California.
At San Jacinto High School, she was a varsity volleyball player
for all four years. She was also a commissioner in her school’s
Associated Student Body, helping organize pep rallies and
lunchtime activities. But as school drew to a close, Back’s home
life became chaotic.
Her parents were divorcing. To compound matters, her
father’s automotive shop was going out of business and the fam-
ily’s income decreased dramatically. There were health issues
as well. “Cancer runs in my family,” Back says, “and my grand-
parents on both sides were fighting it.”
Back had worked for Stater Bros. supermarkets part time
during high school, and when she graduated, she took a full-
time position there to help support her family. Her dream of a
higher education seemed further and further out of reach. But
then, she learned about the fraternity and an opportunity to
reignite her dream.
A FRESH PERSPECTIVE
In 1969, the California Masonic Foundation was established to
reinvigorate the connection between Freemasonry and public
education through a variety of scholarships and other educa-tion-related initiatives.
For many years, the Foundation’s approach to scholarships was much like many other organizations’ throughout
the country: It provided support for exemplary scholars who
showed strong progress towards future leadership. These
were model students with high grades, promising test scores,
and impressive lists of extra-curricular activities. The scholarships were a reward for hard work – an extra push to help
enable students’ pending success.
Then, in 2010, the fraternity launched its first member-driven
strategic plan. As Masons statewide took a step back to deeply
Like many immigrants, Yu came to
California with a determination to suc-
ceed in her new home, but the odds were
stacked against her. As high school gradu-
ation approached, she faced increased
family pressure to get a full-time job to help
support her parents – a choice that would
require her to give up her college hopes and
long-term dream of eventually working for a
Fortune 500 company.
Yu knew that in the long run, obtaining
a professional career with an established
company would help her to better provide
for her family. But she was the only one to
see things this way. If she pursued a college
career, she would do so without her family’s
support or approval.
It would not be an easy task for a young
lady in a new land, but the light of hope
began to shine when she learned about
INVESTMENT IN SUCCESS SCHOLAR