HomeCommunity NewsFoothills Community Scholarship Foundation of La Cañada Flintridge Marks 60 Years Strong

Foothills Community Scholarship Foundation of La Cañada Flintridge Marks 60 Years Strong

A nonprofit organization known for more than six decades of awarding local scholarships has a new name: the Foothills Community Scholarship Foundation of La Cañada Flintridge.
Formerly known as the Community Scholarship Foundation of La Cañada Flintridge Inc., the group has given out scholarships to high school seniors in the community since 1964.
President Trish McRae, who has been part of the all-volunteer organization for about eight years, said, “I’m so proud of this organization.”
Her sister, Alice Perez, the vice president of the group, said she 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 high schools in the Foothills community, including Crescenta Valley High School, La Cañada High, St. Francis, Flintridge Preparatory, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, Hillside School and Learning Center, to spread the word of the scholarships.

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

“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 said they are caught by surprise when reading student essays and what the children are dealing with in life.
The organization is always looking 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 analyzes the process and what improvements they can make. This year, the scholarship foundation added an eligibility element to their application, letting 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 reach 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 background in education as a preschool teacher and a husband who previously served on a school board, McRae “always tries to help children reach their highest potential.”
“And then my sister moved out here, to 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, 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, where she earned 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 holds annual bingo events and sends out letters to people in the community asking for donations.
The foundation is now accepting scholarship applications until March 15. To learn more or to get involved, visit fcsflacanada.org.

First published in the February 24 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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