Bon Vivants Hospitality is committed to funding this scholarship with a minimum of $150,000 over the next five years to fully support the ScholarMatch services for five students, one added each year, for the entirety of their college experience. The funds are used for costs and items beyond tuition fees, which can be an impediment to low-income students, even with tuition assistance. These costs may include housing deposits, textbooks, personal or family emergencies, and activity fees.
Founders Harris and Schick, who own the award-winning cocktail bars Trick Dog and Bon Voyage!, in San Francisco’s Mission District, are regular contributors to community-driven philanthropic projects. To-date, Bon Vivants Hospitality has donated close to $515,000 to nonprofit organizations in which the group believes. Approximately $425,000 of that total has been raised through The Bon Vivants’ event Pig & Punch, which is approaching its milestone 10th Annual event at Tales of the Cocktail this July. Nearly $90,000 of the $515,000 total has originated from the sales of Trick Dog’s theme menus and related events.
“We are very excited to announce the creation of our scholarship at ScholarMatch,” says Harris. “A scholarship of this kind has been something we’ve discussed for years in connection with our other philanthropic efforts, but we had never found the right partners to help bring it to life. It has always been important to us when choosing partners that we feel a strong connection to their values as an organization, and also that the money we raise and donate will make an immediate, long-lasting, and significant impact.”
The unique nature of ScholarMatch’s program, and the value of The Bon Vivants Scholarship, is that it focuses on the ongoing connection and mentorship of each student for the entirety of their college career, making sure they have the support, tools and connections to stay in school and also graduate and successfully launch a career.
“This new partnership with the Bon Vivants is an amazing example of what happens when neighbors from different walks of life connect; magic happens,” says Kate Bueler, Community Engagement Manager at ScholarMatch. “It has become increasingly challenging for the students and families we serve in San Francisco to make ends meet, much less gain access to higher education. The Bon Vivants Scholarship is providing a concrete way for folks to support workers in local kitchens and hotels who have provided us with outstanding service day in and day out for decades.”
Harris and Schick are proud to be a part of supporting the first recipient of The Bon Vivants Scholarship, Gissela Guevara, who will graduate from Lowell High School and attend San Jose State University fall 2019. Guevara lives with her mother and two siblings in San Francisco’s Oceanview District and is a founding member of the Chemistry Show Club and president of La Raza. Within the San Francisco community, she focuses on supporting youth through Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and is passionate about connecting with young people with autism and supporting their social development. Her personal experience as a sister of an autistic sibling, and her work in the field, are cornerstones to her interest in exploring a career in medicine and nursing.
“Being the first Bon Vivants Scholar has made a huge impact on me and my family in various ways. Due to this scholarship, I am able to attend San Jose State University this fall as the first person in my family to attend college and will pursue nursing,” says Guevara. “This scholarship and attending college will help me set an example for my family and motivate other young Latina students in my community to aspire to a higher education.”