Ventura County Community Foundation Expands Scholarships for Foster Children, Future Public Servants
Fillmore Gazette, June 16, 2010
Nearly $1 million awarded to local students at annual event.
Young people who have been in foster care as well as students preparing for public-service careers received inaugural awards from two new scholarship funds during the Ventura County Community Foundation’s Scholarship Awards Reception earlier this month.
The new TEACh Opportunity Scholarship Fund for former foster kids and the John and Agnes McFarlane Scholarship Funds for future public servants were among the 315 awards handed out at the Community Foundation event attended by more than 500 students, family members, educators and donors at the Ventura County Office of Education in Camarillo.
The new TEACh, or Training and Education Achievement by Children Opportunity Scholarship, and McFarlane awards join the family of 98 scholarship funds at VCCF.
“Each scholarship started at the Community Foundation speaks to the vision and generosity of a donor who invests in the future of Ventura County by investing in the education of its young people,” said Hugh Ralston, VCCF president and CEO. “Our donors know if you want to change lives for generations to come, give motivated young people the opportunity to achieve their dreams.”
The Community Foundation is the leader in awarding scholarships to Ventura County students pursuing post-secondary education. Started in 1987 with $5,000, the foundation’s scholarship program has awarded more than $6 million. This year, over 250 individuals received a total of almost $1 million.
For donors, scholarships are about more than the dollars, Ralston points out.
“The most moving moments at our scholarship event come when donors meet the winners of scholarships they established as a memorial to keep a loved one’s memory alive.”
At this year’s event the Heyne family was on hand to award the scholarship honoring their mother, Jan, who was shot to death during a Memorial Day crime spree in 2005. Carol and Tony DiRaimondo were there to congratulate the winner of the scholarship named for their son, Spc. Michael DiRaimondo, who was killed in Iraq in a 2004 medevac helicopter crash. Don Greenberg awarded the Charles & Kay Schuler Scholarship that honors his late mother, Kay, a single parent who pursued her education while raising her children.
The new TEACh award expands the TEACh Scholarship Fund already established at VCCF by providing a grant that covers a substantial amount of a year’s college education, according to TEACh co-founder Lawrence L. Matheney. The 2010 awards totaled $25,000, which came from a contribution by Verizon. The TEACh Committee is working to build a $500,000 permanent endowment to sustain this new fund with proceeds from the Technicolor Golf Classic.
“Former foster children lack family support and resources so they have a significantly greater need than the average high school grad,” said Matheney, who helped found TEACh 16 years ago. “They have the further burden of having typically moved from foster home to foster home so their transcripts are not necessarily impressive.
“This scholarship helps free them from the time demands of making multiple scholarship applications that distract them from their studies,” he said.
Twelve honorees received scholarships totaling $39,000 from the McFarlane Fund which supports students seeking a degree or certification in an occupation related to a life in public service, including health care, government service, journalism, education and the social services. The McFarlane Fund was established in 2009 with the transfer of assets to VCCF from the John and Agnes McFarlane Scholarship Fund, established over 60 years ago with a bequest from the prominent Ventura couple; VCCF will provide the staff support for this fund as part of its expanding scholarship effort.
The Foundation also announced two winners for its Young Artists Scholarship Fund, a product of VCCF’s current ArtsLIVE in Ventura County initiative. These two awardees are seniors graduating from local high schools who plan to pursue careers in the arts. VCCF is raising $375,000 in permanent endowment to continue this program, which will send “our best to the best” arts schools in the nation.
The scope of this annual undertaking would not be possible without dozens of unsung volunteers who have been working behind the scenes since the Jan. 16 application deadline, Ralston noted. A team of 15 processed the more than 2,600 applications. Fourteen screened the applications to make sure they complied with the guidelines set by donors. A committee of 28 volunteers reviewed and rated the almost 1,240 eligible applications, and made recommendations which were approved by the VCCF Board of Directors in May.
VCCF is a family of charitable funds with combined assets of $100.5 million. Its mission is to promote and enable philanthropy to improve our community for good for ever, which it does through grantmaking, scholarships and leadership training programs through the Center for Nonprofit Leadership. VCCF has been certified in compliance with national standards by the Council on Foundations, the highest form of peer review in the United States. For more information on VCCF’s scholarship program and the wide variety of funds distributing awards to local students, visit vccf.org or contact VCCF at (805) 988-0196.
Susan K. Bolanos, Finch Family Scholarship Fund ($3,500).
Amparo O. Magana, Orfalea Scholarship Fund ($2,500), Angelica Amezcua, Orfalea Migrant Scholarship Fund ($2,400), Beth A. Brooks, John and Agnes McFarlane Scholarship Fund ($2,500), Beth A. Brooks, Orfalea Scholarship Fund ($2,500), Iris P. Villalobos, Orfalea Migrant Scholarship Fund ($2,400), Iris P. Villalobos, Ventura County Agricultural Scholarship Fund ($500), Lena M. Stehly, William A. and Cynthia D. Fairburn Memorial Scholarship Fund ($2,000), Linnea C. Fechtner, William A. and Cynthia D. Fairburn Memorial Scholarship Fund ($2,000), Luz A. Figueroa, Orfalea Migrant Scholarship Fund ($2,400), Mayra V. Amezcua, Orfalea Migrant Scholarship Fund ($2,400), Natalie Aguayo, Orfalea Scholarship Fund ($2,500), Susana Amezcua, Orfalea Scholarship Fund ($2,500).
Back to Media