Exciting News for the Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship!

Wine industry and business leaders from across the country once again came together at Must! Charities’ PURPOSE event with a shared passion to give back—and the results were astounding.

The evening’s “Fund a Need” raised $1.3 million to benefit the Vineyard Team’s Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship Fund, which provides academic opportunities to children of vineyard and winery workers. While this is an incredible step towards bettering the future of even more students, Vineyard Team needs to raise funding to match a portion of the Must! investment. Contributions from the community continue to be essential to the success of the scholarship program. All funding will help expand the program to not only provide more students with scholarships but also to help recipients access resources that will help them successfully graduate.

Recipients, Lizbeth, Esteban, and Carolina share their personal challenges with family illness, inadequate academic advising, and financial hardship. Like many, theirs are stories of resilience. This scholarship helps each one of them build the better life their parents sacrificed for them to have.

Inspired to Give Back

Since the Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship began in 2015, 98 percent of recipients have been first-generation college students. Multi-year recipient Alberto Gonzales says, "I am proud of breaking the cycle and being the change in my family as the first generation to go to college."

The program is named in honor of Juan Nevarez, a beloved member of the Central Coast winegrape industry, whose kindness, expertise, and passion shaped many local vineyards. Nevarez spent a lifetime working every job he could gathering knowledge that eventually enabled him to start his own vineyard management company, Nevarez Farm Labor, and own his own eighty-acre vineyard. Although Juan struggled to read and write himself, he dreamed of higher education for his children. His daughter Eufemia shares, “Our dad had one requirement for all his children: we must graduate from college.”

Higher education is important to many students but paying for college can be challenging. Today, Juan’s spirit of hard work and dedication is being translated into scholarships so that the upcoming generation can earn a higher education at trade schools and two- and four-year colleges.  

Read Juans Story

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