Rodney Fernandez Leadership Fund grant to aid STEM majors

Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation is pleased to announce it has received a $10,000 grant from the MUFG Union Bank Foundation to help fund the 2020 Rodney Fernandez Leadership Fund Scholarship Program.
The Rodney Fernandez Leadership Fund Scholarship Program, created in 2011, honors the legacy of Rodney Fernandez, Cabrillo’s founder and Executive Director for 30 years (1981–2011). The Scholarship continues Fernandez’s legacy of community building by cultivating the leadership of residents to attain their goals, empower themselves and to take action and improve the quality of life in their communities.

The scholarship program provides funds for students who wish to pursue higher education. To be eligible, students must be enrolled in and/or continuing college education, in the process of applying to an accredited institution, or enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program, and household income must be less than or equal to 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Ventura County. High school applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 to apply.

“The grant will match an Edison International grant for STEM-only applicants and private donations to allow Cabrillo to provide more scholarships to students in all majors, said Director of Business Development and Administration,” Denise Bickerstaff.

“Funding from the MUFG Union Bank Foundation will enable Cabrillo to provide more scholarships to motivated and talented students, many from immigrant families who are first-generation college students. These grants will help youths in our community to reach their educational and leadership potential. They will help diversify our workforce and benefit our community,” Cabrillo CEO, Margarita H. de Escontrias, said.

Cabrillo has received 45 applications for the Rodney Fernandez Leadership Scholarships compared with 21 last year. Cabrillo is currently convening a review panel and reviewing the applications. Award-winners will be notified in late July or August.

“This is the largest number of applications we’ve ever received and illustrates the need and desire for higher education among local students,” Bickerstaff said.

“Each year, members of our scholarship review panel are deeply moved and touched by the applications and appreciate the applicants’ willingness to share their experiences and struggles as well as their triumphs,” said de Escontrias.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Cabrillo in expanding these scholarship opportunities,” said Randy Weiss, Union Bank Community Service Manager. “From previous experience serving on this panel — we know these candidates are incredible individuals with very bright futures — it’s a sound investment.”

In addition to high quality, safe and secure affordable housing, Cabrillo creates a ladder of opportunity for its low-income residents through comprehensive housing services and educational programs, which include the Rodney Fernandez Leadership Scholarship program. Donations to the Rodney Fernandez Leadership Fund can be made at