New Study Finds Majority of Young Adults Believe Debt From Education Limits Ability to Pursue Fulfilling Career

Clif Bar & Company Announces New Scholarship to Remove Financial Roadblocks and Help College Seniors Pursue Meaningful Business Careers

EMERYVILLE, Calif.--()--While competitors consolidated, Clif Bar co-owners Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford walked away from a $120 million buyout offer in 2000. Contrary to popular opinion, they were determined to prove their company could succeed—not by selling to the highest bidder—but by inventing a new business model with five bottom lines focused on sustaining the business, its brands, its people, the community and planet. It worked, leading to nearly two decades of double-digit annual revenue growth. Today, Clif Bar is announcing a scholarship to inspire the next generation of business leaders to challenge conventions and invest in the long-term pursuit of purpose.

Clif Bar’s Business with Purpose Scholarship is intended to remove financial roadblocks, allowing four graduating college seniors the opportunity to pursue meaningful post-graduate experiences they might not otherwise take due to pressures to accept the first high-paying job offer that comes their way.

Scholarship recipients will receive up to $37,1721—the average student loan debt—and a $3,000 monthly stipend plus mentoring from Clif Bar for up to a year. Clif is looking for inspiring, passionate, creative college seniors who are fully committed to making a positive impact throughout their business career and have a plan for the year after graduation that may include volunteering, a fellowship, an internship or work at a non-profit.

“At Clif Bar, the freedom to prioritize our values over short-term gains has been key to our success for more than 25 years,” said Gary Erickson, founder, co-owner and co-chief visionary officer of Clif Bar & Company. “With this scholarship, we hope to inspire the next generation to prioritize purpose at a pivotal moment in their lives, rather than letting conventional wisdom or financial realities determine which path they take after college.”

A new Clif Bar survey2 released today underscores the negative impact financial debt has on today’s graduating college students, especially those who want to pursue a job or career they care about. The survey found that 56 percent of young adults ages 18-34 believe that debt from their education limits their ability to pursue a job or career they would find fulfilling—identifying student loan debt as the number one source (42 percent) of their fiscal burden, followed by credit card debt and medical bills.

Additional Survey Highlights

  • 74 percent of respondents said their financial situation has a large impact on taking a job that would make them happy
  • 73 percent said their finances have a large impact on pursuing a more interesting or rewarding career
  • 63 percent admitted they felt the need to take the first job offered to pay off their debt
  • 68 percent said they were “very” or “extremely” likely to take a job that wasn’t fulfilling just to be able to pay off debts quickly

“Gary and I knew we had to do something when we learned today’s college graduates feel so burdened by debt that they can’t justify exploring meaningful experiences that could lead them to a career with purpose,” said Kit Crawford, Clif Bar co-owner and co-chief visionary officer. “Before Clif Bar, I hadn’t run a food company, but I had spent years volunteering. That led me to design a community service program that’s integral to our business model. I’m proof that you don’t need to start in the boardroom to land there.”

The Business with Purpose Scholarship will begin accepting entries in fall 2018. For more information about the scholarship, visit

About Clif Bar & Company:

Clif Bar & Company crafts nutritious and organic food to feed and inspire adventure, including the CLIF® BAR® energy bar; CLIF Kid®, Nourishing Kids in Motion® and LUNA®; The Whole Nutrition Bar. Family and employee-owned, the company is committed to sustaining its people, brands, business, community and the planet. For more information on Clif Bar & Company, please visit, check out our Facebook page at and follow us at and


2The Clif Bar social purpose survey included 1,044 respondents age 18-34 who self-identified as financially insecure. Fielded by Toluna between March 24-27, 2018, the study identified sources of financial instability and how that impacts career and social purpose choices and behaviors. The study had a margin of error of ±3%.


for Clif Bar & Company
Chris Thonis, 312-729-4307

Release Summary

Clif Bar & Company Announces New Scholarship to Remove Financial Roadblocks and Help College Seniors Pursue Meaningful Business Careers.


for Clif Bar & Company
Chris Thonis, 312-729-4307