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Treasurer’s Innovative Scholar Dollars Program Awards $300,000 to Support Under-Funded Extracurricular Activities, After-School Programs
20 K-8 Public and Charter Schools to Receive Grants Ranging from $5,000 to $25,000


April 24, 2017

Contact: Marc Lifsher

SACRAMENTO  – State Treasurer John Chiang today announced that 20 schools in California will be awarded grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to support critical after-school programs and extracurricular activities.

“At a time when California schools struggle just to have the latest textbooks and basic supplies, programs that provide students with a well-rounded education often get tossed to the side,” Treasurer Chiang said. “Our Scholar Dollars grants will help these schools fund exciting academic initiatives, from the expansion of arts and sciences programs to the construction of cutting-edge technology labs and state-of-the-art athletic facilities.” 

ScholarShare, California’s 529 savings plan, administered the Scholar Dollars program. Eligible K-8 public and charter schools registered and then engaged their communities to vote for a chance to win one of the 20 available grants. Grants were available in varying amounts according to school size.

Scholar Dollars was immensely successful in its inaugural year, with more than 390 schools across the state registering and over 411,000 votes cast by parents, relatives, boosters and community members.

Winning schools came from the following cities: Burbank, Camarillo, Campbell, Carson, Castro Valley, Los Angeles, Northridge, Oakland, Sacramento, Santa Ana, South Gate, Visalia, Westminster and Windsor.

One of the grant winners, South Gate Middle School, a Title I school in South Gate that serves more than 2,000 students, plans to use the $25,000 grant to design a Makerspace and technology lab to encourage students to build, explore and create. The lab’s goal is to help students develop critical thinking, communication, collaboration and problem-solving skills.

“Our school is overjoyed to have been selected to receive a Scholar Dollars grant,” said Janet Mack, principal at South Gate Middle School. “The grant will give us the boost we need to create our innovation lab and broaden our scope of learning for our students.”

Another grant recipient, Cali Calmecac Language Academy in Windsor, plans to use its $20,000 grant to purchase Google Chromebooks to help increase learning and aid in enrichment.

During the next month, Treasurer Chiang will visit select campuses across the state to present winning schools with their Scholar Dollars grant awards. View the full schedule, below.

To learn more about the grant program, visit

Schedule of Award Presentations for Scholar Dollars Grants
4/24 – Sacramento, Calif. (William Land Elementary School)
5/5 --  South Gate, Calif. (South Gate Middle School)
5/8 – Castro Valley, Calif. (Golden Oak Montessori)
5/16 – Westminister, Calif. (Sequoia Elementary School)


About the ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan

To sign up for an account or for more information about the plan, visit For information about the ScholarShare Investment Board (SIB), visit Like ScholarShare on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at @ScholarShare529.

Named for the section of the IRS code under which they were created, 529 plans offer valuable tax advantages. Contributions are made with money that has already been taxed. Once funds are placed in the account, investment earnings, if any, are not federally or state taxed, if withdrawn to pay for qualified higher education expenses.

The ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan Twitter and Facebook pages are managed by the State Treasurer’s Office.

List of Scholar Dollars School Winners

School City Principal Grant Amount
Francophone Charter School of Oakland Oakland Lori MacDonald $5,000
Golden Oak Montessori of Hayward Castro Valley Gena Engelfried $5,000
Village Campbell James Crawford $5,000
Magnolia Science Academy 7 Northridge Fatih Metin $5,000
Multnomah Street Elementary Los Angeles Narajphan Asavasopon $10,000
Sequoia Elementary Westminster Michelle Watkins $10,000
William Land Elementary Sacramento Ellen Carlson $10,000
Willmore Elementary Westminster Nicole Jacobson $10,000
Leonardo Da Vinci Sacramento Devon Davis $15,000
Shannon Ranch Elementary Visalia Tara Sharp $15,000
Judith F. Baca Arts Academy Los Angeles Tracye McWhorter $15,000
Monte Vista Middle Camarillo Joseph Herzog $15,000
Santiago Elementary Santa Ana Norris Perez $20,000
Luther Burbank Middle Burbank Oscar Macias $20,000
Sutter Middle Sacramento Cristin Tahara-Martin $20,000
Cali Calmecac Language Academy Windsor Jeanne Acuna $20,000
Stephen M. White Middle Carson Adaina Brown $25,000
Thomas Starr King Middle School Film and Media Magnet Los Angeles Mark Naulls $25,000
Alfred B. Nobel Charter Middle Northridge Derek Horowitz $25,000
South Gate Middle South Gate Janet Mack $25,000

For more news, please follow the Treasurer on Twitter at @CalTreasurer, and on Facebook at California State Treasurer's Office.