In 2007, Clint and Janet Reilly jumpstarted The Clint Reilly High School Scholarship Fund – now Bay Scholars. Their aim was to give back to Bay Area communities through that most important gift – education. Clint’s father, Joe Reilly, a milkman of Berkeley Farms Creamery and proud parent of 10, could not afford his son’s education at Bishop O’Dowd. A scholarship student himself, Clint has been driven to give back to the Bay.
A long-time advocate of social justice and civic engagement, Clint has always seen education as a game changer for low-income families.
While on the Board of Directors at Catholic Charities of San Francisco, Clint began to build relationships with local Catholic elementary schools. He saw his own story in the kids from these schools. Without economic help, the best high schools were often out of reach for them, effectively closing the door to college and the future.
He recognized that a number of Bay Area Catholic high schools were successfully creating pathways to colleges and universities, tailored to underserved and low-income students. He realized that these schools knew how to get the job done. They had strong service missions, implemented rigorous core curriculum, taught discipline and values and formed partnerships with parents. In his eyes, this wrap-around education model was the recipe for success for our low-income Bay Area youth.
The idea and mission for Bay Scholars was born: opening up a gateway to college and beyond for inner-city Bay Area students.