Puente was founded in 1981 by co-directors Felix Galaviz and Patricia McGrath, at Chabot College in Hayward. The project's mission was to increase the number of Mexican American/Latino students transferring to four-year colleges and universities. Since then, Puente has expanded to 59 community colleges throughout the state. As an outgrowth of its success as a community college program, Puente piloted a high school version of its program in 1993 that is now operational in 35 high schools throughout the state. Puente is open to all students.
- Are recognized as leaders and scholars
- Graduate from four-year colleges and universities
- Belong to a statewide network of leaders and professionals
- Puente serves more than 7,000 students per year.
- More than 2,500 professionals donate more than 18,000 hours annually to Puente students.
- An estimated 200,000 non-Puente students have benefitted from Puente's staff developmental programs.
- Community colleges with Puente projects transfer 44 percent more Latino students to the University of California than colleges without Puente.