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Fundraiser nets over $23,000 for scholarships, enrichment
• CUSD Foundation hosts Oct. 12 event
Jeff Brown (left) is honored as the CUSD Foundation’s “Volunteer of the Year” with Supt. Scott Siegel standing by. - photo by Contributed

More than $23,500 was raised for the Ceres Unified School District (CUSD) Foundation at the Oct. 12 seventh annual “Helping Students Today & Tomorrow” fundraiser.

The Foundation funds supplemental learning for K-12 students and college scholarships for graduating Ceres seniors.

Two hundred guests gathered for dinner at the Ceres Community Center, as well as a live auction and an opportunity to honor individuals and organizations for their exemplary support of Ceres schools.

“It’s remarkable how this event has gained momentum through the support of the Ceres community, the generosity of business sponsors and donors, and the commitment and collaboration of stakeholders including CUSD staff and even students, who create and donate artwork and fine arts performances for the live auction,” said Superintendent Scott Siegel, a member of the CUSD Foundation Board.

Since its inception in 2012, the fundraiser has generated more than $138,500 to benefit Ceres students. In addition, half of the proceeds from student-generated auction items are donated directly back to the respective school or program.

The CUSD Foundation embodies the shared visions of former Ceres Unified School District Superintendent Dr. M. Robert Adkison, community member Dave McConnell, and former superintendent Walt L. Hanline. Originally operating as two nonprofit foundations with complementary missions, the former Ceres Education Foundation merged with the CUSD Foundation in 2015. Today, the foundation funds teacher mini-grants that support class field trips, outdoor education and other enrichment activities, and scholarships.

At each year’s fundraiser, a business and organization are recognized as Friends of Education for their significant and sustained financial support of Ceres schools. This year, Ruiz Produce was named the Friend of Education in the Business category. Ceres Lions Club was honored as the Friend of Education in the Community category. Jeff Brown, who has volunteered for the past decade as a sports announcer for Central Valley High School, was recognized as the 2018 Volunteer of the Year.

A video presentation highlighting projects made possible by the foundation’s teacher mini-grants, as well as messages of gratitude from scholarship recipients now attending college, gave fundraiser guests a first-hand look at the impact of their support.

“It has allowed me to be a full-time student here at Stanislaus State,” said Maira Aguilar, a 2018 graduate of Ceres High School. “It has allowed me to provide for things like a parking permit, my laptop and other school supplies.”

For more information or to donate to the CUSD Foundation, contact Julie Lynn Martin-Borba at

Members of the Ruiz Produce family receive a plaque for being named the Friend of Education in the Business category.