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Central Valley Scholars Raises Over $37,000 In Third Annual Fundraiser



On October 22, 2022, we hosted our first in-person fundraiser in over three years - raising over $37,000!


In celebration of an incredibly successful year, we welcomed our scholars, friends, family, and community members to El Patio Mexican Restaurant for food and celebration. The event included live music acts from Mariachi El Cascabel and in-house DJ and saxophonist Fresno.


The night continued with presentations from Central Valley Scholars team members including Dalia Santana-Zamudio, Michael Piña, and Leslie Vasquez.


Dalia Santana-Zamudio (She/Her), our Administrative Assistant, led the presentations with a Land Acknowledgement recognizing and respecting the indigenous communities who reside in the land we are currently on. Michael (She/He), founder and CEO of Central Valley Scholars, followed with a touching speech about her journey in creating Central Valley Scholars.


The Central Valley Scholars Team - Brittanie, Michael, Leslie, and Jenn.

“My success in starting Central Valley Scholars doesn’t stem from my degree or attachment to a prestigious university. It stems from my learned experiences and survived struggles growing up as a Queer, Latinx, low-income, first-generation student from the Central Valley. It stems from the knowledge my parents and family have passed down from me; it stems from my community and friends who have taught me accountability and reflection of my privileges; it stems from my ancestors (both Queer and immigrants) who have died and fought for me to reside in the spaces I hold today; and it stems from my team, who love and support me dearly, and share the common mission to make the Central Valley a better place to live," Michael stated.


Leslie then introduced all the programs Central Valley Scholars offers, and six goals for the future - including $50,000 in scholarships for 2023, and a campaign of reaching 7,000 students by 2026.


Leslie shares, “We understand these may sound like ambitious goals; however, we have consistently demonstrated our commitment to doing better every year, and I am confident that with the love and support we have in this room we can make this happen.”


We ended the night with a keynote speech from Karina Cabello Alvarez, our 2022 Inspire Awardee. Karina shares, "Central Valley Scholars es una organización que ayuda a diferentes tipos de estudiantes, no solo al estudiante con mejores calificaciones, sino que le da la oportunidad a diversos estudiantes sin importar el estado de documentación, la orientación sexual, la identidad de género, el origen etnico, la discapacidad o la lucha de uno. Central Valley Scholars les brinda el apoyo que necesitan no solo económicamente, sino también emocionalmente, le ayudan a cumplir tus sueños."


With over 60 people in attendance and several more demonstrating their support online, we have proudly raised over $37,000! We are incredibly grateful for all the love and support the community has shown us. As an organization that began in 2019, we are incredibly thankful for those who continue to believe in us and our mission to make education accessible to all. We plan to continue fundraisers like this for years to come.


Thank You Our Event Sponsors & Funders



Thank you to those who also contributed to our fundraiser:

  • Toni Walery

  • Mr. Clair Manuel Estrada

  • Alpha Care Pharmacy

  • Eric Stern

  • Linda and Ramon Barreto

  • Vivian Franco

  • Rosario Alexander Villarreal

  • Matt Matera

  • Elvia A Gutierrez

  • Angelica Camacho

  • Marilyn Winkleby

  • Clay Westrum

  • George Pilling

  • Eduardo Bravo

Special thanks to:

  • Our volunteers - Liz Calderon, Mark Castro, Aileen Soria, Eloisa Santana-Zamudio, Victoria Morelos, Luis Rizo, and Hannah De La Fuente - for all their time and labor in making this day a success

  • Julieta Castillo for building the beautiful balloon arch

  • Performances by In-house DJ and saxophonist Fresno and Mariachi El Cascabel

  • El Patio staff who served and made delicious food for our guests

  • And everyone who bought tickets and shared the event, we thank you!

Please enjoy some highlight pictures from our fundraiser.



Stay Connected


If you would like to support our organization in continuing programs, click here. For questions about this article or how to support us, please contact us.

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