January 21, 2020, By Maggie Fusek, Patch Staff
NAPA VALLEY, CA — The Napa Valley Community Foundation invites local students and teachers to apply for scholarships it makes available each year at this time, thanks to the generosity of local donors. The deadline to apply for scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic year is March 5, and awards range in size from $300 to more than $5,000 per year, according to a news release.
Scholarships are available for: local military veterans, or the dependents of military veterans who died while in active service; graduating seniors from local public high schools, and transfer students from Napa Valley College; teachers throughout the Valley who are pursuing further education; and Calistoga youth studying music.
“At Napa Valley Community Foundation, we believe that all young people have the potential to become confident and contributing adults,” NVCF President Terence Mulligan said. “However, while gifts and talents are evenly distributed, access and opportunities are not. That’s why, through our growing roster of Scholarship Funds, our donors’ dollars go directly to work helping to support deserving local students, from high school to community college to four-year universities.
NVCF’s newest scholarship opportunity is the Daisy Cavalli Scholarship Fund, which benefits graduating seniors who attend a Napa Valley Unified School District high school who are planning to enroll in a trade/vocational school, community college or four-year college/university. Preference is given to applicants who are the first in their family to attend college, and recipients will receive funding for each year they are enrolled as a full-time student.
In 2019, NVCF awarded 76 scholarships totaling $259,060 to local students for the current academic year. Approximately 30 percent of last year’s scholarship recipients are enrolled at University of California campuses; another 30 percent are attending schools in the California State University system; nearly 20 percent have matriculated to private universities; and 20 percent are beginning their studies at Napa Valley College.
Two of NVCF’s Scholarship Funds are renewable for each year of the student’s educational journey; all scholarship funds allow students to reapply in subsequent years. In 2019, six students also received more than one award from the Foundation’s scholarship portfolio for this academic year.
The George and Gwendolyn Goodin Scholarship Fund, a permanent endowment that was established at NVCF with a gift from the estate of Mr. and Mrs. Goodin, longtime residents of Yountville, has so far supported 25 local veterans in their educational pursuits. Six Goodin scholars received funding that supported them every year, from their first classes at Napa Valley College through their transfer to, and graduation from, a four-year university. In one case, a recipient received scholarship funds for every year of his educational journey — from Napa Valley College through completion of law school.
Xavier Bianchi is a George and Gwendolyn Goodin Scholarship recipient who transferred last fall from Napa Valley College to the University of San Francisco, where he is working toward his bachelor’s degree in communication studies and serving on the Bay Area Student Veteran Leaders Council.
“This scholarship has made it possible for me to accept admission to an institution like the University of San Francisco,” Bianchi said. “Even with financial aid and the GI Bill, I’ve had to take out federal loans to pay tuition each semester. This scholarship will enable me to pursue my education without taking out more loans, so I am not placing myself in serious debt long after I complete undergraduate, law and business school.”
The Fruit of the Vine Scholarship Fund was established by an anonymous Napa Valley winegrower, and is focused on students who are first in their families to pursue a college education. Jan Eric De Castro, a 2015 graduate of American Canyon High School and a 2019 graduate of the University of California San Diego, received The Fruit of the Vine Scholarship all four years of his college education.
“During my senior year in high school, I was skeptical that I would be able to afford going to a university; my mom is a single working parent and even though I received some grants, it wasn’t enough,” De Castro said. “Thanks to Napa Valley Community Foundation and the Fruit of the Vine Scholarship, I was able to fill the gaps and pay for college without having to worry about expenses. I graduated cum laude with a major in human computer interaction and a minor in design, and I’m now starting my first full-time job as a designer.”
The Lenore Hirsch-Jay Falk Scholarship Fund was established by Lenore Hirsch in memory of her husband, Jay Falk, who immigrated to the United States and worked hard at overcoming educational challenges to earn a bachelor’s degree in economics from Golden Gate University. Lenore Hirsch had a long career in education, where she taught many students who were very bright but faced challenges to learning. It was her hope in establishing a scholarship fund that the scholarship would give a boost in confidence to Napa County students who have worked hard to overcome barriers, and plan to attend a two- or four-year college program in general education.
“The scholarship I was awarded helped me to earn my bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management and Tourism, and start my first job at a winery, working with the winemaker to learn the business from the ground up,” said Tara Beltrami of St. Helena, a 2013 recipient of the Lenore Hirsch/Jay Falk Scholarship. “As a deaf individual, I am proud of my accomplishments —and this scholarship helped me to reach my dreams.”
For more information, and to apply, visit Napavalleycf.org/nonprofits/apply-for-a-grant/scholarships/. Contact Napa Valley Community Foundation by calling 707-254-9565 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community members wishing to learn more about setting up, or contributing to, an NVCF scholarship fund, are encouraged to contact Sarah Lehman, vice president of development, at 707-254-9565, extension 13.