For 30 years, Dollars for Scholars has helped students achieve their dreams



As the Temecula Dollars for Scholars program turns 30, recipient and Temecula Valley High School graduate Victoria Lorah shared how she used her scholarship wisely; after high school, the 22-year-old graduated from UCLA with a degree in physiological science and works as a substitute teacher and a medical scribe in a local hospital emergency room while she applies to medical school.

"As I stand here tonight I'm reminded of the confidence you had in me over the years," Lorah told a crowd recently at the group's first Donor Meet-and-Greet event celebrating the program's 30th anniversary. "Thank you," said Lorah, on behalf of all the recipients who have received scholarships. "We are more grateful than you will ever know."

Temecula Dollars for Scholars provides financial aid to high school graduates in the Temecula Valley Unified School District. Seniors who have a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher and are planning to pursue higher education the following academic year can apply. Recipients are announced at an awards ceremony each spring.

The program, initially called the Citizens' Scholarship Foundation of Temecula Valley, has given out over $2.7 million over the years, said Dollars for Scholars President Lynn Shaver.

Temecula Dollars for Scholars has a board of trustees that manages and distributes the funds.

One hundred percent of all donations go to scholarships. There is no paid staff; everyone with the organization is a volunteer. Awards are based on merit or financial need or a combination of both. Donors can help select the winners and all winners are selected anonymously.

Shaver said she wants to raise awareness of the organization.

"It's been a little kept secret. This year with the 30th anniversary I wanted to kick it up a little," she said.

At the Meet-and-Greet gathering, a slideshow on two large screens listed the names of scholarship donors, which include large and small businesses in the Temecula Valley, foundations, hospitals, charities, local sports clubs, community service clubs such as Rotary and Kiwanis, and individuals.

Some of the donors offer scholarships earmarked for students studying certain fields. Scholarship amounts vary. Others are offered as memorial scholarships. Shaver said Dollars for Scholars is always happy to accept new donors.

Lorah, the scholarship recipient who is working as a substitute teacher, couldn't recall the exact amount of her scholarship but said it was at least $1,000 and the funds helped her with her expenses during her first quarter as a UCLA student.

Winning the scholarship also helped boost her confidence as she transitioned to college, she said, "knowing there's a team there supporting you."

Temecula Dollars for Scholars is hosting various events this year to raise funds.

Events include a tea party on Saturday, Sept. 17, and a golf tournament Feb. 12. The next awards ceremony will be held May 15 at the Temecula Valley High School Golden Bear Theater.


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Temecula Dollars for Scholars Seeks

Board Members

This is a voluntary, unpaid position. Applicants should have prior foundation or other nonprofit volunteer experience and demonstrated leadership and interpersonal skills. Accounting and/or finance and computer skills, especially database and spreadsheet management and a comfort level with data filtering, collation and/or querying, are especially needed.

The purpose of the TDFS board of directors is to support the foundation's mission and goals and to advise, govern, oversee policy and direction, and assist with leadership and general promotion of its programs. The mission of Temecula Dollars for Scholars is to provide financial aid to graduates of the Temecula Valley Unified School District who aspire to higher education without regard to race, creed, color, sex, or national origin.

TDFS is responsible for administering scholarships provided by local community members, organizations, and businesses to deserving graduating seniors. The TDFS board of directors acts as an administrator by receiving funds from donors and distributing them to the college, university, or trade school of the recipient's choice.

After completion of their first semester of high school, any senior attending Chaparral, Great Oak, Susan H. Nelson, Rancho Vista, or Temecula Valley high schools with a GPA of 3.00 and planning to pursue higher education the following academic year is eligible to apply. As funds for scholarships are received by the organization, recipient selections occur in March and April. In May, the awards for that school year are announced at a special ceremony. This year's TDFS Community Awards Night will be at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 16, in the Golden Bear Theater, on the campus of Temecula Valley High School.

TDFS board nominees are asked to email TDFS President Catherine Swetavage,, to request a board job description and application form. Forms should be emailed not later than May 20 or mailed to TDFS, 31350 Rancho Vista Road, Temecula, CA  92592.

TDFS Board Applications will be reviewed and notifications sent to successful applicants in June.

Temecula Dollars for Scholars is an affiliate of the national nonprofit educational service of Scholarship America®. Through local chapters such as TDFS, the parent organization has distributed more than $1 billion to more than 1 million students making it the nation's largest private-sector scholarship and educational support organization in the United States.

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January 10, 2014

The importance of local scholarships

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College is a dilemma these days. The already high costs keep soaring, and yet we're told over and over, if you don't have a college degree in tomorrow's global economy, you're in big trouble.

Here to help both financially and symbolically are local scholarship groups such as Temecula Dollars for Scholars. Murrieta and other communities have organizations as well. My own kids, Julia and David, benefited from the Murrieta effort so I know the significance.

The typical scholarship is for $250, not a huge sum in today's college costs. Barbara Borgeson, president of the Temecula group, says the awards are invaluable in another way: They show that somebody locally believes in the student as they embark on one of the great adventures of life.

"The recognition and the honor is so much more than $250," she says.

What a thrill to realize, "Somebody in the community believes in me," she adds.

The Temecula group has been around since 1987, back when Temecula wasn't even a city and wasn't much more than a handful of housing tracts and a couple shopping centers.

It's been around so long that previous recipients such as D'Anna Potter, Mike Spencer and Parker Jasper have now been part of the process as adults, first receiving and now giving.

Spencer, a Temecula Valley High School grad, established a scholarship about four years ago with Jasper, a Chaparral alum. Both went to Cal Poly Pomona and now work as engineers for a Murrieta company.

They like to award the money to students who want to study engineering and have demonstrated hands-on experience working on cars, motorcycles or other machines.

Spencer says while living in a college dorm, he realized students from other places didn't have such community scholarships available. It helped him realize how special his was.

"I do it for the enjoyment of passing it on," he says. "I value a college education. It really worked out for me."

Potter served on the Temecula group's board until she got too busy with her own kids. A local since 1980, she too graduated from Temecula Valley and went to Long Beach State. She's now a local teacher, meaning education is in her blood something fierce.

She says the night when kids receive their scholarships brought back all the great memories she had of that special time when a student is about to embark on college. It's something everybody should experience.

The deadline for applying for this year's scholarships is Feb. 1, meaning it's crunch time for students and donors. Borgeson's group, once known as Citizens' Scholarship Foundation of Temecula Valley, has given away more than $2.7 million over its 27 years. "That's a lot of money for a group that very few people know about," she says.

Hoping to change that relative obscurity, the group has also launched a new website and a new online application that allows students to also check out national scholarships as well. Donors can also go to the website for information.

So get applying, local students, so you, too, can better afford that ticket to a better future in the global economy that's coming oh so fast.

October 23, 2013

Katie Couric Covers Scholarship America/Dollars for Scholars

On Monday, October 28th, Katie will interview the founder of Scholarship America on her show! See this link for more information:


October 18th, 2013

From the Temecula Patch:

Temecula Dollars for Scholars will better serve students and community with the official launch of new website, online student scholarship application

Temecula Dollars for Scholars® officially launched a new website on September 1, 2013,  The new website is supported by software tools provided by Scholarship America®, Dollars for Scholars' parent organization.

This new website will allow Temecula Dollars for Scholars to help students in the community access more scholarships. Through the website, students will have the ability to create an online profile, which allows them to apply for and be matched to multiple scholarships-on both the local and national level-in just a couple of clicks.

Temecula Dollars for Scholars was able to customize the website to meet its specific needs; including keeping the local community updated on chapter news, events and deadlines; providing information on what's going on in education on a national level; and giving students and parents a one-stop-shop for chapter scholarships, educational resources, opportunities, and events.

'We are very excited to offer this online tool to graduating seniors in the Temecula community.  Students will be able to apply for local and national scholarships using our new website,  The application process is now completely online.  Students can begin filling out their online profile as early as freshman year in high school.  Most of our local service groups, many local businesses and citizens donate scholarships through our organization.  We offer scholarships given by Abbott Vascular, the Assistance League,  DeLuz Women's Club, Kiwanis Club, Pacific Western Bank,  Paradise Chevrolet, the Roripaugh Family Foundation, Temecula Family Physicians,  Temecula Sunrise Rotary, Temecula Valley Women's Club, as well as many other area organizations, businesses and private citizens.  It is important for students to fill out the application completely and check back to the site frequently as new scholarships are added.' said Temecula Dollars for Scholars president, Barbie Borgeson.

Temecula Dollars for Scholars encourages students to begin developing their online profiles now, to assure they are alerted about scholarship opportunities in advance of deadlines. In addition to scholarships, students will also have access to exclusive volunteer and internship opportunities that may be available to them, as well as a wealth of financial aid and college success tools and resources provided by Scholarship America.