Rogers State University Foundation and She Brews Partnership Impacts Lives

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A long-standing partnership between the Rogers State University Foundation and She Brews Coffee House in Claremore continues to enrich lives through education.  

Since 2015, the RSU Foundation has sponsored college tuition for a second-chance program, which is part of the non-profit parent organization for She Brews Coffee House in Claremore.  

“This program has been such a blessing to these women – it’s been literally life-changing,” said Rhonda Bear, She Brews founder. “Oftentimes, if you’ve been convicted of a felony and served time, you can get denied when you apply to a university – to try and better yourself – that happened to me.   

“To be denied like that can be very wounding. It can steal a person’s hope for a better life, but through this program, lives have been changed, cycles of dysfunction have been broken,” she said. “For many of our women, this program has allowed them to be the first people in their families to attend college.”  

Bear – and the women she employs at She Brews – knows first-hand about the challenges of overcoming obstacles to transform their own lives.   

Women like “Michelle.” 

Michelle grew up in the foster program, spent years in prison and several years suffering from addictions. Today, she’s out of prison, clean and sober, and making a difference in her own life by working toward a degree at RSU, thanks to the program offered by the university and She Brews. 

“(This) RSU and She Brews program – this partnership – is allowing me to get my degree in community counseling,” Michelle said. “It makes me emotional to talk about it, but it’s literally changed my life. It created an opportunity for me that I wouldn’t have without it.” 

“The partnership between the Foundation and She Brews brings together two missions that are unique but have a common goal, to provide life-changing opportunities,” said Steve Valencia, vice president for development at RSU. “Education is the great equalizer and can provide these women an opportunity to earn a degree and develop careers that will have an impact on families for generations. Thanks to our generous donors, the Foundation can provide scholarships to support this effort.”

The RSU Office of Development is the fund-raising arm of the institution which works to maximize the university’s resources and leverage its effectiveness through obtaining the financial support of individuals, foundations, and corporations.

She Brews Coffee House was established by Bear in 2012 as an extension of a housing program serving women transitioning out of incarceration and other difficult circumstances. She Brews is a nonprofit social entrepreneurial undertaking with two locations in Claremore and one in Tulsa, providing basic job skill training and work experience for the women they serve.

Currently, the program has provided scholarships for two women per school year, but Bear said she would hope to see it continue to grow to have a greater impact on the lives of those in need.  

“Ultimately, we would like to see an endowment established to ensure these scholarships will be available on a permanent basis,” Valencia said.

She Brews Coffee House is located at 414 W. Will Rogers Boulevard and 1601 W. Country Club Road in Claremore, and at 1 N. Lewis Ave. in Tulsa. For more information, call 918-923-6020 or visit