Written by David Castellon
The Westlands Water District is partnering with the Central Valley Community Foundation to offer scholarships and other financial aid to help underprivileged children and veterans in the Valley.
The two groups have launched the Westlands Farmers Charitable Fund, described in a press release by Ashley Swearengin, CEO of CVCF, as a “first-of-its-kind fund in our region for farmers to support our families with the greatest need.
“Recognizing that more than 50 percent of Central Valley residents live below the state poverty level and students in the region have lower-than-average high school graduation and college degree attainment levels, the Fund will work to provide financial support for educational programs, including scholarships for students seeking higher education, food relief for those most in need, funding for community facilities and resources for Central Valley veterans programs,” the release continues.
The Westlands district, which serves 700 family-owned farms covering about 1,000 square miles in the western parts of Fresno and Kings counties, will provide the funding. CVCF. a Fresno-based foundation that works with donors and other nonprofits to effectively use their charitable dollars, is managing the Westlands fund under the guidance of a board of directors.
“Our farmers have a long history of philanthropy. They understand the power of community and are committed to strengthening families in our region,” Don Peracchi, president of the fund, said in the press release.
“We are pleased to partner with the Central Valley Community Foundation to centralize and maximize the investment of our farmers in order to meet the needs of our community.”
The board will be responsible for directing the funds to worthy organizations and charities.
“We have supported youth programs for years because of their important work in providing positive experiences for children who are the future leaders of our communities,” said Sal Parra, a board member. “The Westlands Farmers Charitable Fund allows us to combine our donations with other farmers to make a larger impact in our communities.”
“It is clear that our farmers care about the communities in which they work, as demonstrated by their long history of giving,” said Swearengin, who also is the former mayor of Fresno. “This fund honors that commitment and bolsters their investment for more impact in our communities.”
For more information about the Westlands Farmers Charitable Fund, go online to http://bit.ly/2yPhmss.