A group of local real estate professionals will host a gala this week to raise money for scholarships to help low-income South Bay kids pay for college.
The South County Realtor Alliance asks $25 per ticket to the event, dubbed the CanTree Kickoff “Rags to Riches” event, which starts at 5 p.m. this Wednesday at the Guglielmo Winery in Morgan Hill.
For the past several years, the organization has raised an annual $3,000 to $5,000, sometimes more, to award to academically accomplished yet economically disadvantaged Gilroy and Morgan Hill high-schoolers.
“We're blessed being able to be real estate agents, brokers other people in this industry when so many other people are struggling,” said Cindy Dalla, a broker at Realty World/Global Mortgage in Santa Clara. “The least we can do is come together for a cause like this to give back to the community.”
Students start applying for the scholarship early in the year, typically February. They submit an application to prove they hold a higher-than-3.2 GPA, do volunteer work in the community and aim to finish a four-year college education. Judges narrow down the selection process by picking some of those applicants to appear before a panel, where they get interviewed about their school career, their volunteer work and their college and career goals.
Past recipients have gone on to some of the best schools in the nation, including many in the University of California system, and chosen some of the most arduous majors like surgical medicine and various types of engineering.
“We're really looking for people who have a vision of how to give back to the community themselves when they achieve their own success,” said Cindy Miller, a retired high school teacher and alliance member in charge of the scholarship committee. “We're looking for someone who is impassioned about getting involved in community, somebody who knows exactly what they want to accomplish, knows how much it costs to go to college and knows what they have to do to qualify.”
This year, the alliance gave about $4,000 to local students, though the annual amount varies depending on how much money the alliance raises at events like the one at the winery this week.
“The ticket cost, it goes to help out our children,” Dalla said.
The dinner fundraiser features a deejay, live and silent auctions, dancing, games and a gourmet dinner.
“It's a fun night,” Dalla said. “I'd encourage anyone to go - there's something for the whole family.”