For former foster students such as Alayna Mendoza, the college scholarship she recently received has not only helped alleviate some of the financial burden of attending college but assisted her in setting her educational goals even higher. “I appreciate the scholarship so much!” Alayna shared, “I never thought I would see myself in college, let alone graduate school. I look forward to starting my master’s program knowing that I have a head start in paying for it.”

Many students like Alayna have benefitted as a scholarship recipient from the Cal Coast Cares Foundation. Since its inception in 2015, the foundation has helped students and teachers in San Diego and Riverside Counties. Founded by California Coast Credit Union, the Cal Coast Cares Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that aims to promote and strengthen our local education community by providing grants to educators and scholarships for college-bound high school seniors and foster youth. In the last five years, the Cal Coast Cares Foundation has awarded over $430,000 in grants and scholarships.

The scholarship program for current and former foster youth was created to help students who may face greater obstacles in achieving their educational goals. Todd Lane, President and CEO of Cal Coast Credit Union and a board member for the Cal Coast Cares Foundation, describes the importance of the program, sharing with GB Magazine “We feel the foster student scholarships provide these students with an added degree of certainty and support that is often lacking in other parts of their lives. Some of the students have shared that just knowing that others in the community care about them has made a positive impact in their lives.”

The Cal Coast Cares Foundation has also helped local teachers by awarding grants for projects in the science, technology, engineering, reading, arts and math fields. These Educator Grants are available to teachers instructing kindergarten through 12th grades at public, private and charter schools, as well as faculty at community and state colleges or universities. With a grant, Brittany Perro, a teacher at High Tech Middle School in San Marcos, was able to purchase 60 additional books for her classroom to help stimulate her students’ interest in reading. Ms. Perro not only observed a noticeable increase in reading among her students, but an increase in reading levels as well.

To raise funds, the Foundation hosts two signature events – the exciting Day of Golf and the inspiring Illuminate Pathways reception. The Day of Golf was held on October 19 where 114 participants were able to safely enjoy a round of golf while raising funds to help support the Foundation. Illuminate Pathways is a community reception that highlights the talents and determination of our local students and teachers. Additionally, the talents of student musicians and culinary students are highlighted throughout the event, showcasing their abilities.

The Cal Coast Cares Foundation is honored to be part of the San Diego and Riverside education communities. To make a donation to the Cal Coast Cares Foundation or to learn more about scholarship applications, please visit www.calcoastcu.org/community/cal-coast-cares-foundation.