Growing Opportunity: Scholarships

Growing Opportunity: Scholarships

One of the ways the Community Foundation for Monterey County strengthens communities is through scholarship funds. The CFMC manages nearly 70 named scholarship funds established by individuals, families and businesses who recognize the value of education and want to create opportunities for local students.
Receiving the scholarship has made everything so much easier. I’m free to focus on my studies. The CFMC helps elevate low-income students pursuing higher education.” – Brandon Le, College Futures Scholarship Recipient

Here are a few examples of scholarship funds of the CFMC.

The Steve and Marti Diamond Scholarship Fund

Steve and Marti Diamond started the Marti and Steve Diamond Charitable Foundation Fund at the Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC) in 2017 and the Steve and Marti Diamond Scholarship Fund in 2022. The purpose of the fund is to provide strategic, need-based scholarships. “We’re looking to support really talented young people with exceptional ability and drive,” stated Steve Diamond.

The first round of scholarships was awarded in 2023. Learn more. To learn more about the scholarship and view application criteria, visit the Steve and Marti Diamond Scholarship Fund page.

Carmel Valley Women’s Club Scholarship

The Carmel Valley Women’s Club supports women pursuing education. Since 2018, the scholarship fund has awarded a total of 46 scholarships ranging from $500 – $3,000. The scholarships were established to provide financial assistance to female high school graduates in Carmel Valley.

The nine 2023 scholarship recipients with their destination colleges are: Sophia Bone (U.C. Santa Barbara), Emma Brown (Vassar), Cassidy Bullas (U.C. Santa Barbara), Giana Buraglio (currently a Freshman at U.C. Davis), Lisseth Cabrera (U.C. Davis), Lilliana Menkel (Cal Poly SLO), Siri Panetta (Harvard), and Hanna Shu (Stanford). To learn more, please read about the 2023 winners, or visit

California Rodeo Salinas

The Community Foundation for Monterey County is proud to partner with the California Rodeo Salinas on its scholarship program. The California Rodeo Salinas awarded $37,500 to eight recipients in 2023. The four recipients who received scholarships through the CFMC are (l to r) Carly Vorwerck, James Martin Flores, Alyssa Ferrell and Isabella Madison Carothers. Read their stories or to make a gift, please visit the Give Now page.

The Matthew Paul Finnigan Memorial Scholarship

The Matthew Paul Finnigan Memorial Scholarship Fund honors the memory of Matthew Finnigan, a young adult with ASD whose life was taken before he could achieve his goal of helping others. The Matthew Paul Finnigan Memorial Scholarship program is open to California students with ASD (DSM-IV or later criteria) studying full-time or part-time and pursuing a career in the fields of Psychiatry, Psychology, Statistics, Chemistry, Math, researching ways of reducing the challenges of Autism, or a career which will help adolescents on the autism spectrum. The Autism Society of California is honored to assist the Community Foundation and the Finnigan family in the application and selection process for this important award. Read about the 2023 recipients:

Girls’ Health in Girls’ Hands

The Girls’ Health in Girls’ Hands (GHGH) program, founded by the Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County, provides girls ages 11-18 with leadership opportunities to refine their skills rooted in resilience, compassion, and the ability to live their life as their authentic selves. Through GHGH, hundreds of girls throughout Monterey County will have access to more comprehensive and integrated health information, develop powerful leadership skills, and help influence positive changes at their schools and in their communities.

The GHGH program also awards annual scholarships. Laura Rivera, a Spanish and Political Science major and current Vice-President and Student Trustee of Hartnell College, shared her scholarship story at the 2023 Women’s Fund Luncheon:

Taylor Farms

2023 Scholarship Recipients

For the past decade, Taylor Farms has been awarding college scholarships to outstanding children of employees looking to further their education. On June 15, 2023, we held the Taylor Farms Scholarship Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC) luncheon and awarded 38 students college scholarships.

Along with the new scholarship recipients, Taylor Farms also awards scholarship renewals to former students. These recipients are all children of active, full-time Taylor Farms employees.

Since 2008, Taylor Farms has awarded $2.4 million in new and renewed scholarships. To learn more, visit

College Futures

Many scholarships have been awarded to the highest academic achievers. This provides recognition for students who have excelled in high school – but doesn’t factor in whether the students and their families have financial need. College Futures Monterey County is designed to help low-income students in Monterey County achieve their educational and career goals.

Brandon Le, a freshman at UCLA, shares how the CFMC College Futures Scholarship has made an impact on his life as a student:

Raymond H. Costa Family Scholarship Fund

Raymond Costa, owner of several McDonald’s in the Salinas Valley, created the Raymond H. Costa Family Scholarship Fund at the Community Foundation for Monterey County to create opportunity for his employees. The fund has awarded $395,750 in 141 scholarships since 2017. To learn more, visit

To learn more about CFMC scholarships, please visit: