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Our Donors & their Scholarships

Andrea Nicole (Nikki) Ferguson

The YCRWC-Nikki Ferguson Scholarship was established in 2007 to honor the memory of Andrea Nicole Ferguson. Nikki was 17 years old when she passed away from undiagnosed heart disease. She lived most of her life in Yuma attending Ronald Reagan Fundamental School, Crane Junior High, Yuma High School, and Arizona Western College. Through this scholarship, the hard work and determination of Nikki can live forever.

Assistance League of Yuma Scholarship

Proud to help Yuma County for 48 years

Assistance League of Yuma continues to carry out its mission to serve those in need through the gift of volunteer service. Assistance League of Yuma is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpolitical, nonsectarian organization serving the emotional and physical needs of children and adults of all ages regardless of race or creed. Proceeds from Assistance League of Yuma fundraising activities and projects are returned to philanthropic programs. Assistance League of Yuma is a chapter of the National Assistance League. National Assistance League provides ongoing guidance, assistance, and educational opportunities to chapters to enhance member leadership and promote community service.


Assistance League of Yuma is dedicated to the community through its philanthropic programs.

The main source of income to support our programs is derived from the sale of goods at our Assistance League Thrift Shop, located at 1054 S. 4th Avenue. Additional funding is sought each year from individual cash donations gifts, and grants.

For more information about the Assistance League of Yuma:  https://www.assistanceleague.org/yuma/


Austin Vaughan Memorial Scholarship

Austin Fred Vaughan….there were so many qualities about this young man and the way he decided his future.  Austin started in his junior year at Antelope Union High School researching careers and calling the schools he was interested in attending.  When he narrowed down his choice, nothing held him back.  Austin spoke to the instructor at Chandler-Gilbert Electrical Utility Technology (EUT) Program and was given the outline of what he needed to do to get a spot in the course.  Austin did not waste time, he met with Josie Uriarte, Center Assistant of the Wellton Learning Center, and with her help he completed the requirements needed.  Because of his determination, Austin landed a spot at the Chandler-Gilbert EUT Program for August of 2013.

At the same time Austin was completing the courses for the EUT Program, he had become interested in the Volunteer Fire Department in Tacna, Arizona.  There was an instant love and desire born in him to help his community, he took this very seriously and did not miss his meetings or training sessions.  On the night of Austin’s high school graduation in May of 2012, Joe Rivera, Chief of the Tacna Fire Department and Gary Shaw, Assistant Chief,  presented him with his fireman badge.  Austin was so proud and a part of him matured that night.  He had worked hard and his reward now was taking care of his community and being able to stand with  his “band of brothers”.

We miss him so much.

Robert, Marjorie, Shepard, Prestin and Aja Vaughan

Ben Nakasawa Memorial Scholarship

Established in 1999, the Ben Nakasawa Memorial Scholarship helps students who have a passion for farming realize their goals in a field that has a huge impact in our community and society.  This transferrable scholarship is for students pursuing a degree in Agriculture, Animal Science, AgriBusiness or other related fields of study. 

Bridget's Gift

Established in honor of Yuma native, inspiration, and massage therapist Bridget Martinez, the Bridget's Gift Massage Therapy Scholarship is awarded to an AWC student who has been accepted in the AWC Licensed Massage Therapy Program.  In honor of her determination, positive attitude, and humor, this scholarship seeks to encourage and promote wellness and resource awareness in our community.

Carol Backus Memorial Scholarship

The Carol Backus Memorial Scholarship is an endowment established by Ms. Backus in 1988 before her death. She was a long-time resident of Winterhaven, California. Through her generous donation, she hoped to assist students showing academic progress and effort toward success after their first year of college.

Charles C. Lackey Memorial Scholarship

Charles C. Lackey was a much beloved friend and colleague who passed away at the age of 28 in September 2011.  Charlie was a very well-respected computer and events technician at Arizona Western College.  Always kind-hearted, professional, and efficeint, Charlie was hard-working and dedicated to serving the faculty, staff, and students of AWC.  His quick, dry whit and infection laugh is greatly missed.  Education was important to Charlie so this fund was established in his memory for AWC employees who are pursuing their two or four year degrees. 

Courtney S. Norman

This was created in memory of Courtney Sheldon Norman. A treasure to his family, Courtney will be remembered for his optimism and selfless caring. He loved to help anyone in need.

Daughters of American Revolution Yuma Chapter

The Daughters of the American Revolution Yuma Chapter Scholarship was established in 1995, with a bequest in the will of Elsie N. White, a Daughter of the American Revolution (DAR) member. Since then it has grown and become an endowment due to additional donations from the Daughters of the American Revolution Yuma Chapter. This scholarship is awarded every year to assist students majoring in history or nursing.

Dee Jay Carr

The Dee Jay Carr Memorial Scholarship was started in 1995 by Mr. Denny Carr following the tragic death of his son, Daniel James (Dee Jay) Carr, in an automobile crash upon returning from a class at Arizona Western College. Mr. Carr raised funds each year for the scholarship by organizing thel Dee Jay Carr Memorial Motorcycle Love Run in Dee Jay's name. Through the generosity of family, friends, and the Yuma Community, the scholarship was endowed in 2007. Dee Jay was a good student, excellent athlete, and devoted son who loved Harley-Davidson motorcycles, muscle cars, dogs, and his friends and family.

Dr. Anita L. Smith Memorial Scholarship

Dr. Smith graduated from Oklahoma State University, earning her Bachelor's, Master's, and Ph.D. in Entomology.  She taught entomology and biology at AWC until the time of her passing.  She served as a role model for women in her classroom, setting an example through her actions, dress, and demeanor.  She strongly believed in the power of education and strove to support women as they furthered their education within the sciences. 

Dr. Matthew L. Wong

Dr. Matthew L. Wong was a true blue Yuma Criminal, graduating from Yuma High School where he played on the football team. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of California Berkeley then went on to earn his M.D. from the University of Southern California. After completing his internship, Dr. Wong practiced medicine in Canton, China. He returned to Yuma in 1953 with his wife Ellen to open a private medical practice serving families in Yuma for many years. This fund was established by various family and friends to continue his legacy of giving.

Dr. Michael Miller Memorial

This scholarship was created in honor of AWC Professor of English Dr. Michael Miller who also served as Editor of Western Voice, the AWC student newspaper, coordinator of Yuma’s Thursdays at the Theater Film Series, and was a long-time contributor to the Yuma Sun.  Dr. Miller was well-respected by students and colleagues and his contributions to AWC and the Yuma communities are vast. This memorial scholarship supports continuing AWC students majoring in Creative Writing or Journalism.

Frank & Pat Cooper

The YCRWC-Frank and Pat Cooper Scholarship was established in 2012. Frank and Pat Cooper, active volunteers in the Yuma community and dedicated supporters of the Yuma County Republican Party, were named Yuma County Citizens of the Year in 2008 honoring their involvement in civic causes and commitment to the community.They will always be known for their generous spirits and many, many hours of service which touched the lives of so many people in Yuma.

Garcia-Trujillo Scholarship

The Garcia-Trujillo Scholarship Fund has been set up as a way to say "Thank You" to the people who helped a young girl in financial struggle to pursue a college degree at AWC.  AWC became the stepping stone to my career as it was the first institution tha tembraced me as a student and gave me the tools needed to succeed as a Registered Nurse and eventually a Nurse Practitioner.  I am grateful to AWC and to the previous scholarship donors for their assistance in completing my education.  Being able to assist others, now, is my way of paying it forward.

George H. & Leila M. Payne

The George H. & Leila M. Payne Scholarship was established in 1997 by their daughter, Madeleine Jameson. This endowment benefits students with physical challenges. George and Leila Payne moved to the 'Yuma Project' in 1913 and bought a farm on May and 8th street, where they raised alfalfa, cattle, and kept bees. They had a small store on Avenue B and 8th street called Payneís Corner. As a young man of 19 or 20 years, George fell from a grain elevator and, through complications, lost one leg. Ms. Jameson had fond memories of growing up in Yuma, and founded this endowment to help physically-challenged students in the memory of her father and mother.

Gertrud J. Moody

Arizona Western College was named as a beneficiary of the Gertrud J. Moody Scholarship which is an endowment held by the Arizona Community Foundation. In 1948, Gertrud moved from Cleveland to Phoenix hoping the warmer weather would help her rheumatoid arthritis. It didn't help, but she considered the move a success when she met her future husband, Robert. The young couple moved to Yuma in 1949 where they became pillars of the community. They were both active in many organizations but were especially interested in programs for young people. The care they had for Yuma and strong belief in education prompted the Moody's to leave a lasting legacy to benefit AWC students.

Hector German Uriarte

The Hector German Uriarte Memorial Scholarship was established by Josie Uriarte in loving memory of her son. Hector passed away at the age of nineteen. He was a loving son and special friend. This scholarship will benefit a student who has attended Antelope High School and is pursuing a career in the medical field or special education.

Jacob Louis Daily Memorial Scholarship

Together, with the Daily Family and our local Agriculture Industry, the Yuma Fresh Vegetable Association honors Jacob Louis Daily by giving back to deserving students to fulfill their higher education goals.
Jacob Daily loved life and had a smile that lit up the room. Jake worked for Pasquinelli Produce as an entomologist and although he was the youngest in his job, he earned the respect and friendship of his colleagues and was often teased about being the bosses’ favorite employee. In order to communicate with many of his coworkers, Jake taught himself how to speak Spanish. He often covered work assignments for coworkers so they could get home to their families. He was an extremely hard worker and through his dedication he worked his way up into a great job position for such a young age.
Jacob passed away in March 2009 from injuries sustained from a work-related truck accident. He had just turned 24 and his family made the decision to donate his organs. He died a hero as he was able to give the gift of life and save many people. This Jacob Daily Memorial Scholarship was created to honor the special person that he was and the impact that he made on the Ag community.

Janice Fife

Arizona Western College was named as a beneficiary of the Janice Fife Scholarship which is an endowment established and held by the Arizona Community Foundation. Ms. Fife, a dedicated educator in Yuma County, desired to assist deserving students majoring in education. A portion of the proceeds from the endowment were designated to be given in scholarships to AWC to provide for the education of Arizona students for years to come by assisting them to become teachers and advocates for future generations.