For Immediate Release
Contact: Gretchen Moore
Westlands Growers Launch Charitable Fund to Support Central Valley Students, Communities, and Causes
FRESNO, CA – Westlands growers joined forces today with the Central Valley Community Foundation to launch the Westlands Farmers Charitable Fund (Fund), a philanthropic effort to improve the lives of underserved families in the Central Valley.
“We commend the leadership of the Westlands growers for stepping up to create a first-of-itskind fund in our region for farmers to support our families with the greatest need,” said Ashley Swearengin, Chief Executive Office of the Central Valley Community Foundation.
Recognizing that more than 50 percent of Central Valley residents live below the state poverty level and students in the region have lower than average high school graduation and collegedegree attainment levels, the Fund will work to provide financial support for educational programs, including scholarships for students seeking higher education, food relief for those most in need, funding for community facilities, and resources for Central Valley veterans programs.
Over the years, Westlands growers have generously supported community programs such as the Community Food Bank, Boys & Girls Clubs in Fresno and Kings Counties, as well as annual college scholarships for local students. “Our farmers have a long history of philanthropy – they understand the power of community and are committed to strengthening families in our region,” said Don Peracchi, President of the Fund. “We are pleased to partner with the Central Valley Community Foundation to centralize and maximize the investment of our farmers in order to meet the needs of our community.”
The Fund will be organized and managed under the leadership of the Central Valley Community Foundation. The Board of Directors of the Fund consists of Don Peracchi, Johnny Amaral, Sal Parra, Jr., Susan Byers, and Ryan Ferguson. The Board will be responsible for directing the funds to worthy organizations and charities. “We have supported youth programs for years because of their important work in providing positive experiences for children who are the future leaders of our communities,” said Board Member Sal Parra. “The Westlands Farmers Charitable Fund allows us to combine our donations with other farmers to make a larger impact in our communities.”
Serving as the center of philanthropy in the valley for more than 50 years, the Central Valley Community Foundation manages more than $89 million to invest in solutions that build stronger communities. The foundation works directly with donors – from individuals and families to businesses and other foundations – to invest in programs that address economic, social and environmental needs.
“It is clear that our farmers care about the communities in which they work, as demonstrated by their long history of giving,” Swearengin said. “This fund honors that commitment and bolsters their investment for more impact in our communities.”
Click here for more information about the Westlands Farmers Charitable Fund.
Westlands Water District is the largest agricultural water district in the United States, made up of more than 1,000 square miles of prime farmland in western Fresno and Kings Counties. Westlands provides water to 700 family-owned farms that average 653 acres in size.