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Cal Poly Scholarship for Black, Indigenous, People of Color in Wine and Viticulture

Justin Trabue, a graduate of Cal Poly’s Wine and Viticulture department, and Simonne Mitchelson, wine industry veteran, used their voices as Black, female leaders in wine to bring attention to the need for more diversity in the industry. Understanding this need, Jeff O’Neill of O’Neill Vintners and Distillers stepped up to create a scholarship fund through the California Community Foundation to support Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) students at Cal Poly who are pursuing a career in wine and viticulture. Since established, this fund has continued to grow thanks to support from additional wine industry leaders. We continue to encourage gifts to this scholarship program with the hope of benefitting an even greater number of students.

As the largest undergraduate wine and viticulture program in the country with 300 students, Cal Poly has a unique opportunity and responsibility to recruit a more diverse student body, leading to more diversity in the wine industry in the future. It is hoped that this scholarship fund will be a tool to attract the attention of high-achieving BIPOC students who may not be aware of the exciting career opportunities the wine industry offers.

The scholarship will be available to any Black, Indigenous, People of Color student in Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences who expresses an interest in a career in the wine industry. Students majoring in wine and viticulture will be given preference. This scholarship program will not only provide financial support to students of color but will also provide mentorship and internship opportunities to help set the student up for a successful career in the wine industry.

Applications for this scholarship will be made available in the spring. Students can contact Cal Poly Financial Aid for more  information at

In 1996, the California Constitution set limitations on how state universities can support students based on ethnicity, race, etc. (The initiative is commonly referred to as Proposition 209.) The California Community Foundation (CCF) is not affiliated with Cal Poly, but does provide scholarships to deserving Cal Poly students as directed by donors.

Watch this video to learn more about this scholarship program.

To make a secure, tax-deductible donation online, click on the button below. You may also send checks payable to the California Community Foundation, noting that the donation is for the Cal Poly Scholarship for BIPOC in Wine and Viticulture. Checks should be mailed to:

California Community Foundation
717 W Temple St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

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