Siblings Pay It Forward

Erica and Jonathan Lobato

Westward view of the intramural fields.

It all started with Erica—the first in the Lobato family to attend Colorado State University. Soon her brothers would follow. More importantly, the three of them would go on to create a scholarship that would open up new opportunities for future students. But first, to Erica’s story.

Erica quickly found a place at CSU within a living and learning community called the Key Academic Community. The Key Community’s mission is to help incoming students seamlessly transition into college life. Erica was drawn to the program’s commitment to diversity, community involvement, and academic support and encouragement. It was a perfect match for her values around lifelong learning, helping others, and unconditional love for family.

Foundation For Family

It wasn’t long before Jonathan followed in his sister’s footsteps, enrolled at CSU, and joined the Key Academic Community. “I believe that my experience with Key furnished me with the strong foundation to succeed at CSU. This support network became my campus family,” Jonathan says.

When Jonathan was a sophomore, Matthew followed his brother and sister, transferring from Front Range Community College to CSU. He also joined the Key Academic Community. The siblings also became roommates, and while many siblings would not fare well with this kind of living arrangement, the Lobatos loved it. “It was a blast,” Jonathan says. “It was like living at home but without our parents.”

“The bond among the three of us is strong, and we are naturally close,” says Erica. Matthew adds, “Blood makes you relatives, but loyalty, respect, and trust make you family.”

Together, Jonathan ’13, Matthew ’12, and Erica ’09— along with support from parents Deborah and Richard— founded the J.E.M.’s Scholarship in 2012.

The scholarship, an acronym for the siblings’ first names, focuses on support to graduates of Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver, Colorado (the Lobatos’ former high school) who will attend CSU and enroll in the Colorado State University Key Academic Community.

“We all feel truly blessed and thankful for the opportunities that have come our way so far and want to help provide similar opportunities for those who don’t have the support, either financially or emotionally,” Erica says.

The siblings are well on their way, pursuing careers and adventures. Whether in Denver (Jonathan), New York (Erica), or Texas (Matthew), they stayed connected as a family, as Rams, and to Colorado State University through the J.E.M.’s Scholarship.

The Lobatos hope to grow the scholarship so graduates of all Denver public high schools can access it.

Find Your Charitable Giving Solution

Like the Lobatos, you can also make a difference. Simply contact the Office of Gift Planning at (970) 491-4254 or to learn more or to let us know if you have any questions.