HomeCommunity NewsScholarship Foundation Marks 60 Years Strong

Scholarship Foundation Marks 60 Years Strong

A brand-new name and 60 years under its belt mark the success at the Foothills Community Scholarship Foundation of La Cañada Flintridge.
Formerly known Community Scholarship Foundation of La Cañada Flintridge, Inc., the nonprofit awards scholarships to high school seniors in the community.
President Trish McRae has been part of the all-volunteer organization for about eight years now and is proud to see where it has come.
“I’m so proud of this organization,” McRae told the Outlook Valley Sun.
Her sister, Alice Perez, the vice president of the group, is excited to start the 60th year with a new name.
“[Sixty years] is a testament to all of the volunteers who started this foundation, and kept it going,” said Perez. “And it’s just morphed into this really wonderful thing, and we just appreciate everyone who has contributed in any way to this foundation.”
The organization reaches out to the six local high schools in the community, including La Cañada, St. Francis, Flintridge Preparatory, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, Hillside School and Learning Center, and Crescenta Valley, to spread the word of the scholarships.
“We connect with the counselors [and] with the principals, we engage with them so that we can find out what’s the best way to get the word out to their students and to parents, so that they can go ahead and apply for the scholarship,” said Perez.
The scholarship organization seeks need-based students with a strong commitment to community service and a desire to continue their education beyond high school, whether at a community college, trade school, or four-year university.
In 2023, the organization awarded nine scholarships, totaling $27,000. The group has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships in its 60 year lifespan, according to the website.
In the application, students are asked to upload their community service and volunteer hours and answer a few questions to shed light on who they are and what their life is like. Requirements to apply include a minimum 3.0 GPA and a family income limit of $250,000.
Every year, the sister duo is always caught by surprise when students send in their applications and read what the students are dealing with in life, such as taking care of loved ones, going to school and volunteering.
The organization is always looks to improve and expand what they offer, said McRae.
“There are some students who need extra help,” said McRae. “So, we’re going to modify and hopefully grow with these additional opportunities for these kids.”
Every year, the organization takes a step back to analyze how things are going and what improvements they can make. This year, the scholarship foundation added another element to their application, which lets students who are home-schooled and live in the attendance area of La Cañada High School and Crescenta Valley High School apply.
“Due to COVID, a lot of students were homeschooled and at home, so we added that element into our bylaws to outreach to homeschooled students, and include them in our criteria,” said McRae. “So that’s new for our 60th year, because we want to be inclusive of all students that we can reach.”
Perez also added that the organization has held workshops for students and parents to learn about people in different careers.
They were able to “connect and maybe do a little mentorship,” said Perez. “That’s something that we’re looking forward to possibly expanding in the future, too.”
With some background in education as a previous preschool teacher and a husband on the school board, McRae “always tries to help children reach their highest potential.”
“And then my sister moved out here, in La Cañada, and I brought her into everything I do,” she added.
When she first got involved, McRae played a part in pushing the organization to social media, like Facebook and Instagram, “we didn’t have any of that before me.”
Perez said that when she first got involved in 2018, “It was gratifying to make a difference and make a contribution.”
She recalls scholarship winners calling the organization and thanking them for the opportunity and saying that they wouldn’t have gone to college without the financial assistance.
“[Conversations with previous winners] continues to be a draw for me and I invite other people to come and check us out because that really stays with you,” said Perez.
Over the years, the organization has tried to keep in contact with scholarship winners. Perez remembers an instance when a mother called and thanked the organization for her daughter’s scholarship, which landed her at New York University earning a 4.0 GPA.
Caroline Que Anderson, the clerk for the La Cañada Unified School District Board of Education, is also part of the organization as the membership director.
Since being with the organization since 2021, Anderson likes the approach the team offers to students in the community and is excited to see it continue for years to come.
To raise funds and awareness, the organization has annual bingo events and sends out letters to people in the community asking for donations.
The organization also spotlights individuals in the Foothills community by giving out a distinguished person award every year, which started in 2015.
The award winner is an individual who has made a significant difference by enriching the lives of students, by contributing to the betterment of the community in education and by volunteering, for example. The deadline for nominations this year is Feb. 29.
The foundation is now accepting scholarship applications until March 15. To learn more or to get involved, visit fcsflacanada.org.

The 2023 scholarship awardees include Jalen Merager Ava Karapetian Jeseung Park Rebecca Gerola Harry Kominski Jane Marriot Siena Urquiza Claire Robinson and Cyrus Khaffaji

First published in the February 22 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.


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