$1 Million Raised for the Children of Vineyard & Winery Workers

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 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 will need 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 to also help recipients access resources to help them successfully graduate.

Since the program 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 for trade schools, and two- and four-year colleges.   

Visit to donate in Juan’s honor. Vineyard Team is a 501(c)3 non-profit grower group dedicated to sustainable winegrowing since 1994. For over 25 years, Vineyard Team has built a network of 300 local farmers, educating and guiding towards sustainable vineyard practices. They strive to protect both natural and human resources, and this scholarship represents their strong commitment to the people part of sustainability.

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