Jesus Floriano-Ramirez, a Soledad High School Class of 2018 graduate, attends California State University Monterey Bay after receiving a scholarship from 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 is 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 2022-23 academic year is Tuesday, 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. Each year, these funds award around $1.5 million for the benefit of about 375 students.

One such scholarship recipient is Jesus Floriano-Ramirez, a Soledad High School graduate who is now attending California State University Monterey Bay.

“Not only did the scholarships help me financially, but they helped me feel relevant and important,” said Floriano-Ramirez, a first-generation college student.

Over the years, the Community Foundation’s scholarship growth has come in large part through the College Futures Monterey County program.

“College Futures was there every step of the way, from the first day to the last day of the semester,” Floriano-Ramirez said. “Having the team there was a big help for me as a student. It is through this program’s generosity, that I am able to pursue my dreams.”

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 scholarship and student support services ensuring they apply for and receive public financial aid.

“Studies suggest 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 — from applying, financial aid, choosing a college and financial literacy — helping set them up for success.

“It is only through the help of the College Futures program, Mr. (Raymond) Costa and the Community Foundation that the dreams of this low-income, first-generation college student were made possible,” Floriano-Ramirez said.

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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