Jacki Cisneros is the president and co-founder of Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera. As a long-time resident of Pico Rivera, Jacki and her husband Gilbert founded this nonprofit organization in 2013 to help local children and their families pursue and achieve their dreams of obtaining a college degree.
This desire came after a lack of students applied for the Frank Terrazas Scholarship, a scholarship program offered to El Rancho High School students by The Gilbert & Jacki Cisneros Foundation. The scholarship was named after Jacki’s grandfather Frank Terrazas, who was a dedicated member of the Pico Rivera community by serving as mayor and city councilmember for many years. After discovering that many of the students did not apply for the scholarship due to a lack of knowledge about their own ability to attend college, or because of a variety of personal challenges, Jacki decided more needed to be done. Thus, Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera was created to offer free college access programs to deserving students in order to properly prepare them for the rigors of higher education.
Under Jacki’s leadership, several different top notch university-focused preparation programs have been brought to El Ranch High School, giving over 500 students every year the opportunity to access key college-bound guidance programs. This includes tips on application letters, personal essay training, SAT/ACT preparation, field trips to universities, mentorship opportunities, scholarship advice, college application assistance and more.
There is no question that Jacki’s love for Pico Rivera runs deep. In addition to attending local schools during her formative years, her mother Lydia served as a teacher and principal in the school district. Her family’s strong influence about the importance of having a solid educational foundation has made a major impact on her, so she began the annual tradition of hosting the Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera Kindergarten Book Giveaway in the fall of every school year. The goal is to promote early literacy skills in young children and since 2011, more than 5,000 books have been given to kindergartners throughout Pico Rivera in order to help instill in them a love of reading.
Jacki is also the vice-president of The Gilbert & Jacki Cisneros Foundation, which was formed in 2010, after the couple became winners of the California Mega Millions Lottery. With one incredible stroke of luck, Jacki and her husband were able to realize a lifelong ambition—to embark on philanthropic endeavors. The Gilbert & Jacki Cisneros Foundation is dedicated to increasing the education level of Hispanic Americans, as well as nurturing a community which supports and values the importance of Hispanic education.
Prior to her foundation work, Jacki enjoyed a successful 18-year career in broadcast journalism, covering news and entertainment in Los Angeles. She is a two-time Emmy® award winner. Jacki worked as an assignment editor at KNBC in Los Angeles (a job which led her to cover a local lottery story, only to discover that her husband had purchased the winning ticket worth $266 million). Prior to KNBC, she worked at the Fox-owned KCOP, the local CBS affiliate KCBS, and the nationally-syndicated entertainment show EXTRA.
Jacki grew up in both Pico Rivera and Yorba Linda, California. She graduated from the University of Southern California, with a B.A. from the Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism and currently serves on the advisory board of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI).
Gilbert Cisneros is the vice president and co-founder of Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera. With a passion for helping Hispanic students and their families achieve their dreams of obtaining a college degree, Gilbert works tirelessly to bring new opportunities to a much underserved Pico Rivera community.
Gilbert, along with his wife Jacki, have become an advocate for education in the Hispanic community. He has worked to create and promote a variety of educational programs to help Hispanic students become more competitive in the college selection process.
Gilbert is also the president and co-founder of The Gilbert & Jacki Cisneros Foundation, an organization committed to improving the level of Hispanic education in the country. Gilbert’s dedication toward philanthropy began when he purchased a winning California Mega Millions lottery ticket in 2010.
Since then, they have devoted their lives to philanthropy, initially leading them to make donations to their alma maters, The George Washington University and University of Southern California, to endow scholarships for Hispanic students. This was followed by endowing a scholarship with the Navy Supply Corps Foundation. Their philanthropic journey eventually led the couple to form The Gilbert and Jacki Cisneros Foundation in 2010, funding it with an initial $20 million.
Previously, Gilbert worked at Frito-Lay® as a shipping & distribution manager, and manufacturing manager. He also served as a supply officer in the U.S. Navy, completing both a Mediterranean and a Western Pacific Deployment. He was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal (two awards), the National Defense Medal, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.
He received a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship, and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from The George Washington University. He also holds an MBA from Regis University, and a Masters of Arts degree in Urban Education Policy from Brown University.
Gilbert currently serves as the Secretary of the Latino Donor Collaborative, and a member of the Southern California Advisory Council for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. He is also a member of Advisory Council for the Dean of Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and the Athletic Department National Advisory Council, both at The George Washington University. In 2014, Gilbert was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Gilbert has received several awards for his commitment to education, and in 2012 was honored by the Hispanic Scholarship Fund with the Triunfadores Award at the Hispanic Scholarship Hall of Fame for his philonthropic service.