Photo by Richard Green
Raymond Costa and his son Greg Costa (center, under sign) gather for a photo with this year’s scholarship recipients from South County.

SOUTH COUNTY — Salinas Valley businessman Raymond Costa, who owns and operates 10 local McDonald’s franchises, helped to make the college aspirations of his employees possible last Wednesday.

Costa celebrated the achievements of 13 South County student employees by awarding a total of $56,250 in scholarships June 13 from the Raymond H. Costa Family Scholarship Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County. Since its establishment in 2017, the scholarship fund has awarded $108,000, including Wednesday’s distribution.

“We are about changing people’s lives by giving them an opportunity,” Costa said. “If I can help with tuition to help an employee further their goals, then that’s what we need to do.”

All 13 students receiving scholarships are from South County: seven from Soledad, three from Gonzales, two from Greenfield and one from King City. They will be attending schools from around the state, including California State University (CSU) Monterey Bay, CSU Fresno, CSU Sacramento, Central Coast College, University of California Los Angeles, Hartnell Community College and Monterey Peninsula College.

In addition to the Costa scholarships, many of these students have also benefitted from McDonald’s tuition assistance program.

One recipient, Ivan Gonsalez, is the first in his family to attend college and is on track to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business management at the end of this year. His mother is a single parent, and he helps to support her and his three sisters.

Gonsalez received his associate’s degree from Hartnell in 2017 and is currently attending CSU Monterey Bay.

Another recipient, Ana Landin, is also a first-generation college student at CSU Monterey Bay. She is majoring in health and human services, with a concentration in social work, and has been working full time while attending school so she can build a future for herself and support her family.

Costa was inspired to give back because of a very personal experience. He was just 9 years old when an act of kindness embedded a feeling he has never forgotten.

“We had just lost my father — he died and Christmas was coming up. I’ll never forget seeing two station wagons full of toys collected in a toy drive just for my family,” Costa said. “It was totally unexpected — that memory is what makes giving so personal.”

For Costa then, it was toys. Now, for his 700 employees, it is money for college.

“We are proud to support our crewmembers with scholarships, tuition assistance and flexible work schedules so they can achieve their goals while supporting themselves and their families,” Costa said.

This year’s Raymond H. Costa Family Scholarship Fund recipients are: Felipe Campa of King City McDonald’s; Eduardo Herrera and Alyssa Maydon of Greenfield McDonald’s; Celine Castro, Jesus Floriano-Ramirez, Ivan Gonsalez, Ana Landin, Brian Lopez, Gabriela Maldonado and Belen Torres of Soledad McDonald’s; and Bianca Uribe, Andrea de Jesus Valdez and Zuleyma Valdez of Gonzales McDonald’s.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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