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The PFLAG Scholarship Portfolio

Since 1998, PFLAG San Diego County has overseen the awarding of over 120 scholarships in the amount of $200,000 to LGBTQ+ students. The portfolio of scholarship awards over-seen by the PFLAG Scholarship Committee continues to increase, including scholarships funded through former and current PFLAG members, the Rob Benzon Foundation, the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation, and the Stephen G. Bowersox Memorial Scholarship, among others. The scholarships are awarded to LGBT high school seniors continuing on to higher education or full-time undergraduate and graduate students through a competitive application and essay process. The scholarship committee selects recipients based on commitment to their chosen field, financial need and academic achievement. It is worth noting that one of the earliest recipients of a PFLAG SDC scholarship was San Diego City Council Member, Todd Gloria. “Launching Leaders” produced in partnership with San Diego Human Dignity Foundation, serves as both a platform to honor our recipients and a primary fundraiser for future scholarships!

PFLAG San Diego County Mission Statement: By meeting people where they are and collaborating with others, PFLAG SDC realizes its vision through: Support for families, allies and people who are LGBTQ; Education for ourselves and others about the unique issues and challenges facing people who are LGBTQ; Advocacy in our communities to change attitudes and create policies and laws that achieve full equality for people who are LGBTQ.

The San Diego Human Dignity Foundation is proud to support over 35 organizations in San Diego County that work in the LGBT and HIV communities. It is our mission to continue to support organizations through our various fundraisers, grant cycles, and initiatives to better the city we live in and love.

Scholarship Descriptions

John Bessemer Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship is made possible through the generosity of PFLAG family and friends to honor John’s commitment to LGBTQ youth. John, whose passion was education, was the husband of Linda Bessemer, a past president.

Rob Benzon Memorial Scholarship
To honor a beloved and generous friend, Rob Benzon, the Rob Benzon Foundation Scholarship was created to recognize youth who demonstrate a giving spirit and charisma.

Stephen G. Bowersox Memorial Scholarship
Through the generosity of the family, friends and co-workers of the Donna and James Bowersox family, this scholarship has been sustained. Their son, Stephen, was the recipient of a 2003 scholarship. Jim and Donna have committed to continual funding of the scholarship. This award is strongly predicated on social justice, demonstrated involvement and high academic achievement, as well as broad, far-reaching interests and activities.

Richard P. Geyser Memorial Ethics Scholarship at the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation
Funding for this scholarship was bequeathed by Philip Flick to honor his partner of 44 plus years and his commitment to ethics. Richard Geyser, who passed away in 2004, was the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation’s first board president and a founding member. See application for eligibility criteria.

John McCusker Memorial Scholarship at the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation
Established by the family and friends of John McCusker, a community leader, business owner, and San Diego Human Dignity Foundation board vice president, the Foundation has continued to fund this scholarship.

Mary Wagner Memorial Scholarship
Mary’s former partner, Sharon Murphy, and her life-long friends, Marilyn and Art Carpenter, have contributed annually to the scholarship to honor Mary’s memory and enduring commitment to education.

Raytheon STEM Scholarship
This is provided by the members of The Raytheon GLBTA Employee Resource Group. The goal of the STEM Scholarship is to attract, support, and train future LGBT professionals in science, technology, engineering or math.

Kendall Family Memorial Scholarship
Dr. Lloyd Kendall was a professor of elementary education for 30 years at San Diego State University and was a life long student himself. Joanna Kendall was a top-notch real estate agent. They believed in the power of every individual to have an impact in their community. It was Dr. and Mrs. Kendall who introduced their daughter, Terrie Vorono, to PFLAG 14 years ago. Terrie is president of PFLAG San Diego County.

Qualcomm, Inc. LGBTQ Merit/STEM Scholarship
Applicants will be chosen based on their pursuit and interest in one of the STEM fields. Sponsored by the eQuality LGBTQ Qualcomm Employee Network.


Note: Minimum scholarship amounts are $2,000 and more than one scholarship may be awarded in a given category. Applicants are encouraged to address the additional award factors considered for these named scholarships when submitting their essays.