South32 awards scholarships to local students, $60K in grants to nonprofits

Three graduating high school seniors from Santa Cruz County were awarded scholarships by the mining company South32 for demonstrating a strong academic performance, and for their plans to study science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).

German Cabello of Rio Rico High School, Arriana Tovar of Patagonia Union High School and Juan Arvizu of Nogales High School each received the South32 Hermosa STEM Scholarship after their application essays were reviewed earlier this month by an independent selection committee.

The award is a one-time $2,500 scholarship given to local college-bound seniors with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and a desire to major in a STEM-related field.

Also this week, South32 announced that its Hermosa Community Fund had awarded $60,000 to nonprofit groups during its most recent grant cycle, which ended in March.

Recipients included Construyendo Circulos de Paz, Friends of Patagonia Pool, Valley Assistance Services, Los Charros Foundation, Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest, Santa Cruz Advocates for the Arts, Santa Cruz Training Programs and the Sierra Vista Symphony Association.

“From college scholarships for students to fall-protection equipment for seniors, these dollars are backing organizations that share our value of care,” said Pat Risner, president of South32’s Hermosa Project near Patagonia.

The fund is accepting new grant applications from Santa Cruz County nonprofits through May 29. Learn more at

Funds available for food and shelter agencies

Santa Cruz County has been awarded a total of $87,693 in funding meant to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county.

The funds come via the national board of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program chaired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

A local board made up of faith-based agencies, emergency aid agencies and community members will determine how the funds awarded for Santa Cruz County are to be distributed among the programs run by service agencies in the area.

In previous years, funds have been distributed locally to the Amado Food Bank, Nogales Food Bank, Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, Santa Cruz Council on Aging and Patagonia Senior Citizens.

Eligible agencies must be private voluntary nonprofits or units of government, have an accounting system, practice non-discrimination, have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs and, if they are a private voluntary organization, they must have a voluntary board.

To apply for funds, contact Marcela Chavez at (520) 761-1840 or for an application.

SCVUSD’s Verdugo joins Achieve60AZ board

David Verdugo, superintendent of the Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District, has joined the board of directors at Achieve60AZ, a nonprofit organization that aims to increase the percentage of Arizona adults with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 60 percent by 2030.

In a news release, Achieve60AZ said the additions of Verdugo and Charles “Monty” Roessel, president of Diné College on the Navajo Nation, will give Arizona’s rural and diverse student populations a voice on the board.

“To achieve our attainment goal, it’s imperative that we address the issues that impact education for students and adult learners across the state of Arizona,” Achieve60AZ Executive Director Rachel Yanof said in the news release. “That’s why we are so happy to add Dr. Roessel and Superintendent Verdugo to our Board of Directors. They are great leaders in their communities who can speak to the needs of the diverse, multicultural student population throughout our state.”

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