The Leonardo DiCaprio Scholarship Fund will provide tuition support to families of UCLA Lab School. This fund is endowed for perpetual support and will provide assistance that is critical to maintaining the diversity of our student population for generations to come. The climate education program will work to inspire the next generation of young climate leaders and educate our youth about how to protect our planet.
“We are honored to partner with Leonardo DiCaprio in support of UCLA Lab School,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. “Expanding access to high-quality education and helping young people recognize the need to protect our planet are critical goals for our institution. We are deeply grateful to Mr. DiCaprio for giving back to the Lab School in this way.”
"I was fortunate enough to attend the Lab School due to the generous contributions of UCLA donors, and my experience profoundly transformed my worldview," stated Leonardo DiCaprio. He added, "I am proud to have the chance to pass on my experience to those who might otherwise miss out on this opportunity, and to help create a program that will help guide the next generation of climate warriors."
An honored alumnus of UCLA Lab School, DiCaprio has built long standing relationships with many of the great thought leaders of our time. He is deeply engaged with the most pressing issues we face — climate change, access to clean water, biodiversity protection, conservation, and disaster relief. As an actor, environmentalist, and philanthropist, DiCaprio has become highly respected for his work in support of organizations and initiatives dedicated to securing a sustainable future for our planet.
UCLA Lab School is known globally for its progressive teaching models and its unique arts, STEM, and socio-emotional development programs that make learning come to life. Because of the school’s role as a research and innovation site for elementary education, it is essential that it have a student body that represents the ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic diversity of California. Approximately 40% of families at UCLA Lab School require financial aid, and the Leonardo DiCaprio Scholarship Fund will provide access to these families and make this richness of diversity possible.
The Climate Justice Education Program will create a new hands-on learning experience for students as they connect with nature and develop knowledge of sustainable gardening and healthy eating. This program will demonstrate an important part of a new “green school” model, which will inform the development of similar programs at schools locally, nationally, and globally.
Located on the UCLA campus, UCLA Lab School is built around Stone Canyon Creek, which runs alongside the playground and through the school’s redwood forest, making it an ideal site for environmental education projects. Educators from all over the world visit the school each year to observe and learn from UCLA Lab School demonstration teachers and then take these models and practices back to their own classrooms.
“The Leonardo DiCaprio Scholarship Fund will have an impact on UCLA Lab School for generations to come,” said Dr. Eric Esrailian, UCLA faculty member, co-chair of the UCLA Second Century Council, and longtime friend of Mr. DiCaprio. “This Scholarship Fund will provide many children access to UCLA Lab School, just as Leo had, and the UCLA Lab School Climate Justice Education Program will position children—both at the Lab School and beyond—for a more sustainable and healthy life for themselves and for our planet.”
“This program will be an access point to teach young children the great value in taking care of their planet, communities, and themselves. We know that connecting with nature supports children’s mental health, too. We are so grateful to Mr. DiCaprio, one of our distinguished UCLA Lab School alumni, for his generosity in creating this opportunity for our Lab School students. We look forward to this work aimed at fostering a new generation of environmental champions,” noted UCLA Lab School Assistant Principal Renata Christina Gusmão-Garcia Williams.
“I know Mr. DiCaprio has spoken fondly of his early years at UCLA Lab School. His very generous gift will make these same experiences possible for many other children well into the future. Additionally, the UCLA Lab School Climate Justice Education Program promises to be a model for the future of schools as we begin to look strategically at environmental education and lessons in healthy living as a key part of our PreK–12 experiential learning mission,” said Tina Christie, UCLA Wasserman Dean of the School of Education and Information Studies.
UCLA Lab School was founded in 1882 as the training site for the State Normal School, preparing teachers for the growing pueblo of Los Angeles. In 1919, the State Normal School became the Southern Campus of the University of California, which then became UCLA. UCLA Lab School has always been a key part of the PreK–12 innovation mission of UCLA and its top-ranked Department of Education.
UCLA Lab School serves as a site for advancing elementary school education by infusing research into practice. The school engages with educators globally, both on-site and online, to share new knowledge and innovative approaches. Most importantly, UCLA Lab School helps children develop their natural love of learning and respectfully collaborate with others from diverse backgrounds.