LA5's Scholarship Committee Improves The Lives Of Students And Rotarians Alike

By Joshua Mandell and Gina Doyle, Scholarship Committee Co-Chairs 

Each year dozens of  members of LA5 gather together to award scholarships to some of the best and brightest students within downtown and Los Angeles County.  At our upcoming meeting on June 16th, LA5 will award approximately $190,000 in scholarship monies this year alone!

Watch this video Carole Donahue prepared of some of this year's students talking about the interview process:

About the LA5 Scholarship Program

LA5's scholarship program is a cornerstone of the club intended to support Los Angeles area high school seniors who often are the first in their families to attend college and come from households with limited financial means.  Each year, LA5 receives over 150 applications from some of the best and brightest around Los Angeles and awards scholarships to just 20-25 students to assist them toward achieving a college undergraduate degree program or technical studies.  LA5 scholarship recipients have gone on to attend some of the country's most prestigious universities, including, Brown, Princeton, MIT, Harvard, UCLA, UC Berkley, Stanford, Wellesley, and USC, among others.

About the Scholarships

College scholarship typically range between $1,000 to 2,000 per year, renewable annually for four years ($4,000 or $8,000 in total per student).  Money awarded can be used by students however they choose. Endowed by the generosity of the Close, Coopersmith, Barr, Kirk, and Walch families, with additional funding provided through the LA5 Foundation, the scholarships are awarded to qualifying students from high schools in the County of Los Angeles, with the majority of them going to downtown area schools.

Each year, LA5 awards a single scholarship in the memory of Randal Simmons to a student interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement, law, or a related field.  Randal Simmons was an officer with the elite Los Angeles Police Department SWAT Team Unit for 20 years and the first to die in action.  Finally, scholarships are given to a select number of qualifying students interested in obtaining a career or technical degree.

Los Angeles County District Attorney, Jackie Lacey and Carole Donahue discuss a student's application

About the Committee and Process

Applications submitted to LA5 are reviewed first by the Committee Co-Chairs for completeness and financial need before the top candidates are forwarded to the Committee.  Over the course of about three hours, the top qualifying applications are reviewed and discussed in detail by the LA5 Scholarship Committee.  Applicants who advance after the initial Committee review will be invited to interview in person with members of the Committee.  This year, the Committee met at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul on February 28 and March 30.
 
Committee members express great satisfaction from the process of reviewing applications and meeting the students in person. 
"Wow!  Yesterday was a memorable day for all who attended.  Our scholars, every precious one of them, were amazing.  Our fellow Rotarians, who gave the gift of selfless service, were united in their commitment to all that is embodied in our storied history." – Dave Meshulam


​If you are interested in joining the Committee, please contact Gina Doyle or Joshua Mandell.