"Everybody can be great
because everybody can serve... 
You only need a heart full of grace.
A soul generated by love."

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Semillas de Esperanza

Scholarship Program Fund
Creating Opportunities, Celebrating Diversity,
& Building Relationships

Imagine waking up before sunrise to work in a warehouse or berry fields to help your family financially, before the school day begins. Imagine the isolation of a classroom where your ability to learn and make friends is limited because you don’t know the language. Imagine feeling your parent’s frustrations with seasonal work and limited employment options.
Your whole family has worked hard and sacrificed to provide for a better life. You are trying your hardest to build opportunities for yourself, and you set your sights on earning a college degree.
SCF donors and founders of the Semillas de Esperanza Scholarship, Howard and Lynn Behar, understand the challenges and barriers undocumented students face. Howard was the founding President of Starbucks International and Lynn has been an oncology social worker for over 30 years with an MSW and PhD from the University of Washington. Their goal is to provide scholarship support to dedicated and determined undocumented students from Skagit County, alongside a similar program in Walla Walla, as an opportunity to provide more equitable access to higher education.
The Behar’s idea was to create the Semillas de Esperanza Scholarship to “fill the gap” of unfunded tuition and to follow each student through all their years of higher education. Every summer since 2018, they help select a new cohort of highly motivated undocumented* (includes DACA) students from any Skagit County high school for the multi-year program. The students’ scholarship amount every year is determined by need and ability.
“It’s a privilege to be able to help these young people find a pathway to success in life. Getting a college degree or a technical certificate is an important step for them to become financially independent and to be able to help their families.” – Howard Behar
One of the highlights of this program is the benefit of job mentoring, connections, and networking with the scholarship founders, Howard and Lynn Behar, with the members of the Scholarship Board, and with each other. This past year there were 10 Skagit students within the program, and a brand new cohort will begin this fall for the 2022-2023 school year.
“Semillas de Esperanza means Seeds of Hope and, at the end of the day, that is what we are trying to provide. HOPE” – Lynn Behar
Semillas de Esperanza Scholarship Program Fund
Founders Howard & Lynn Behar
Special thank you to the Semillas de Esperanza Scholarship Board:
Founders Howard & Lynn Behar
Leta Sanchez: Attorney, Chamberlain Sanchez Immigration Law
Heidi LaMare: Migrant & Bilingual Coordinator, Burlington-Edison School District
Yadira Rosales: Assoc. Vice President of Equity & Inclusion, Skagit Valley College

The Skagit Community Foundation is honored to manage and administrate the Semillas de Esperanza Scholarship Fund

We are here to support your ideas for the community.
To learn more about starting
your Donor Established Fund, visit our website.
Upcoming Grant Cycle:

Local Performing Arts Organizations Grants 

for McIntyre Hall Expenses & Fees
Accepting Applications:

August 15 - September 30, 2022

This new grant cycle will fund grants to enable  local not-for-profit performing arts groups (including school-affiliated groups) to apply for funding towards expenses and fees to perform at McIntyre Hall.

The grants awards will go directly to the applying organization.  The goal is to ensure McIntyre Hall remains accessible and affordable for local area performing arts groups. Eligible organizations will have tax-exempt status. 

To learn more about this grant opportunity, see what is required for the simple application form, and how to apply, visit our website:
Learn More

SCF Merch Now Available!
A variety of new SCF merchandise is now available through our online platform Bonfire. With no upfront costs, the revenue from each purchase benefits Skagit Community Foundation's work to support our local community.
Online Merch Store

Contact Us:

Maddy MacKenzie, Executive Director

Sydney Evans, Development & Communications Associate
The 2022 Candid* (formerly GuideStar) Platinum Seal of Transparency is an honor that recognizes SCF's commitment to accountability, strategic planning, and progress towards our mission.




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1220 Memorial Hwy, Suite C, Mount Vernon, WA 98273
PO Box 1763, Mount Vernon, WA 98273

(360) 419-3181

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Skagit Community Foundation · 1220 Memorial Hwy, Suite C · P.O. Box 1763 · Mount Vernon, WA 98273 · USA

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