Charities benefit from home giveaway

By | October 03, 2012 | News (2)

Fresno State’s Renaissance Scholars Program is among eight local charities receiving more than $300,000 from the 2012 Granville Home of Hope Giveaway on Saturday.

This is the third year Renaissance Scholars participated in the fundraiser, helping Granville to sell raffle tickets and raise awareness for the event.

Renaissance Scholars supports students who were previously in foster care and are attending Fresno State. They are picked through a competitive process, where on average 10 students are chosen, given partial scholarships and receive aid for personal, financial, social and academic needs.

Kizzy Lopez, program coordinator for the Renaissance Scholars Program, spent all day Saturday at the Home of Hope Giveaway, helping to sell last-minute tickets with students.

She talked about the scholarships offered by the Renaissance Scholars Program.

“I think what’s unique about our scholarship is that it’s non-traditional. It’s given during winter break and the summer months when school is not in session and financial aid is not readily available,” Lopez said.

The Renaissance Scholars Program began four years ago through the Educational Opportunity Program as a mandate with funding from the Walter S. Johnson Foundation and the California Wellness Foundation. These foundations planted the financial seeds needed for the scholarship but it was Granville that stepped in to partner with the school to provide aid.

“Darius (Assemi) went and met with President (John) Welty and wanted to get Fresno State involved and so we met with Darius and Richele (Kleiser) and did a presentation,” Lopez said of the process. “They liked the work that we do and wanted to include us. It’s been a phenomenal partnership.”

Home of Hope has raised over $2.5 million since 2006 for various non profits, including the Renaissance Scholars.  Congressman Jim Costa, Olympic champion Jose Ramirez, Granville marketing manager Richele Kleiser and president of Granville Homes, Darius Assemi, were among the presenters of the raffle giveaway.

“We love the Renaissance Scholar Program,” Assemi said. “They do incredible work, offer help to the people that are out of foster care and without this program, those kids — we don’t know where they would be. They offer higher education to this group of folks, of young men and women in our community and help them get a better education.”

Ticketholder Robert F. Lewis, Jr. was this year’s grand-prize winner. Lewis and his wife won a Pasatiempo-styled home from Granville in the new Sunnyside development area. The home is valued at more than $270,000.

Runner-up prizes include a helicopter ride on Eagle One from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department, the Presidential Skybox for a men’s basketball game donated by the Fresno State Office of the President, Apple iPad 2 from an anonymous donor and several gift certificates and packages from local companies that were donated to Home of Hope.

Other beneficiaries, in addition to the Renaissance Scholars, include the Foundation for Sanger Schools, Foundation for Central Schools, Foundation for Clovis Schools, Hinds Hospice Angel Babies program, Assistance League, Community Food Bank and Poverello House.

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