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$25,000 grant to benefit children affected by wildfires


Last updated 1/24/2008 at Noon

(From left) Janet Silva Kister, scholarship chair, San Diego Ag in the Classroom; Michael Anthony Mellano, first vice president, San Diego County Farm Bureau; Kathy Patoff, vice president, Union Bank of California Foundation; Barbara Dean, branch manager, Escondido office, Union Bank of California; and Joe Benoit, market president, retail division, Union Bank of California.

ESCONDIDO — The Union Bank of California Foundation, a nonprofit public benefit corporation, recently presented San Diego Ag in the Classroom with a $25,000 grant to help the children of farmers and farm workers who were impacted by the devastating October wildfires that swept through San Diego County.

The funds will be used over the next five years to award scholarships to those students of farm families who are entering or attending a two- or four-year college or university with any declared or undeclared major.

“Although the impact of the October 2007 wildfires have been felt by many in the county, we found that it was the rural areas and farmers that were disproportionately affected,” said Janet Silva Kister, San Diego Ag in the Classroom’s scholarship chair. “Unfortunately, many farmers lost their farms and their major source of income. In many of these cases, it will be three to five years before the replanting process will return income to them again.

“In addition, unlike storefront businesses and homeowners, farm losses from a fire are almost all uninsurable. So this grant is a great opportunity to help our agriculture community recover from this crisis.”

The scholarship application and eligibility information are available at

San Diego Ag in the Classroom is the educational arm of the San Diego County Farm Bureau, a nonprofit trade organization with more than 7,000 members.


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