Annual Program Has Directed Over $25 Million for More Than 2,300 Scholarships, Aiming to Break Down Barriers to Higher Education for Local Students
Press Release Provided by The Wonderful Company
As part of the Wonderful Community Scholarship Program intended to help college-bound students reach their full potential, 12 Central Valley students from the communities of Wasco and Shafter will each receive up to a $30,000 scholarship to assist with tuition, living expenses, and other costs at an accredited college or university of their choice. Created and funded by philanthropists Lynda and Stewart Resnick, co-owners of The Wonderful Company, the program builds on their long-standing commitment to help Central Valley students fulfill the dream of a college education as a pathway to entering the workforce. To date, over $25 million has been directed to more than 2,300 college scholarships.
With the goal of getting more children to and through college, the scholarship program helps first-generation college students prepare for, pay for, and persist through college. Currently, 17 percent of Kern County, California, residents possess a bachelor’s degree, and many don’t see college as a realistic option. This program is one of the many ways the Resnicks strive to increase access to higher education opportunities in the communities The Wonderful Company serves.
“Today’s children are tomorrow’s citizens, and we’re determined to make sure the next generation of leaders in the Central Valley not only excels in academics, but that they also use their passions to ignite change in the communities where our employees live and work,” said Lynda Resnick, vice-chairman of The Wonderful Company. “A quality education must be equitable and inclusive so that every child can gain the skills and earn the credentials needed for successful, fulfilling careers. Our children have so much to contribute to the world and, thanks to them, I know our future is bright.”
Every year, The Wonderful Company and its co-owners invest more than $30 million in community development, education, and health and wellness initiatives across the Central Valley and beyond. Established initially to provide college scholarships to the children of Wonderful employees from the Central Valley, the program has expanded over the last 28 years to also award college scholarships to Wonderful College Prep Academy graduates, Wonderful Agriculture Career Prep students, and now first-generation college students from high schools in Wasco and Shafter. Presently, 900 Wonderful scholarship recipients are enrolled in college and an additional 300 graduating seniors received a Wonderful College Scholarship this year.
“We’re proud of our students for pursuing their educational aspirations,” said Russell Shipley, principal, Shafter High School. “It’s more important than ever to help build and maintain the pipeline of diverse talent that will go on to be innovators and changemakers in our community for years to come. We’re incredibly grateful for the financial support to help our young leaders achieve their dreams.”
The Community Scholarship Program aims to reach more communities and students in the future. For additional information about The Wonderful Company and its co-owners’ philanthropic efforts, please visit Wonderful.com/CSR.