Angela Diaz, an Everett Alvarez High School graduate, is attending California State University Monterey Bay thanks to a scholarship through the Community Foundation for Monterey County. (Contributed)

MONTEREY COUNTY — Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC) has been working with donors to help close the funding gap for local students aspiring to attend college, announcing that more than $1.4 million in scholarship awards are available this year.

“These dollars represent a recognition by our community that equitable access to higher education is critical to ensuring students reach their potential,” said Dan Baldwin, CFMC president and CEO.

According to Baldwin, the cost of higher education keeps many Monterey County students from achieving their college dream. However, through CFMC’s online scholarship system at, students can apply for more than 65 different scholarships with one application.

The application deadline for the 2023-24 academic year is Wednesday, March 15, and recipients will be announced at the end of April. Students can also find scholarship resources at

“These scholarships help create positive change in our community and let students know people believe in them,” said Esther Figueroa, CFMC scholarships and community impact officer. 

Scholarship funds are established by individuals, families and businesses who want to support local college students in achieving their goals. 

The Community Foundation manages more than 65 named scholarship funds, with a total value of over $8.2 million. In 2022, the funds awarded $1.7 million to about 431 students.

One such scholarship recipient was Angela Diaz, an Everett Alvarez High School graduate who is now attending California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB).

“Thanks to this scholarship, I will be able to achieve my goal of becoming an agronomist one day in the future and make my family proud,” said Diaz, a first-generation college student.

The 19-year-old Salinas native is a sophomore at CSUMB, majoring in agriculture plant and soil science. She was the recipient of a Taylor Farms scholarship.

“As we all know, agriculture is crucial and essential to our population, and Salinas is known as the ‘Salad Bowl,’ feeding people all over the world,” Diaz said. “This Taylor Farms scholarship means the world to me because I am able to receive some help for my courses and books.”

College Futures program

Over the years, the Community Foundation’s scholarship growth has come in large part through the College Futures Monterey County scholarship program, in which 95% of recipients are the first in their family to attend college.

Thanks to a partnership with San Francisco-based College Futures Foundation, CFMC aims to increase the rate of college completion among local students through a combination of needs-based scholarships and student support services, ensuring they apply for and receive public financial aid.

“Studies show that this approach can have a significant impact on increasing college-going and degree completion for low-income students,” according to the Community Foundation.

As part of the program, students from 10 local high schools attend a series of workshops geared to educate them and their parents on the ins and outs of college — applications, financial aid, college selection and financial literacy — helping set them up for success.

Participating high schools include: Alisal, Everett Alvarez, Gonzales, Greenfield, King City, North Monterey County, North Salinas, Salinas, Seaside and Soledad.

Individuals wanting to learn more about CFMC, contribute to an existing scholarship or create their own can call 831-375-9712 or visit

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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