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Question: Tell me about Giant Steps’ scholarship program.

Answer: One of Giant Steps’ core values is that we will never turn away a rider for lack of means. We accomplish this through a few different vehicles. First and foremost, we fundraise throughout the year so that we can keep our fees as low as possible. Only 10% of our budget is covered by fees; the rest is raised from individuals, businesses, foundations, and special events. We thank the many donors who support our efforts throughout the year. Secondly, we offer a robust scholarship program based on a family’s income. Each year, we award approximately $100,000 in scholarship funding, which represents 10% of our annual budget. Lastly, we try to maintain a separate fund, named the Susie Fund after long-time volunteer Susie Wilson, which can be accessed by clients who are facing one-time expenses that might prevent them from continuing with the program. Each year the needs grow and so do our fundraising efforts.

It takes a village to raise sufficient funds for our scholarship fund. We do ask each family that receives scholarship awards to participate in fundraising efforts throughout the year whether it is raising money from friends and family to participate in the CVNL Human Race, securing auction donations for one of our events, volunteering at one of our events, or other creative ideas them come up with themselves. In addition, many of the pony and junior riders who participate in the Giant Steps Charity Classic horse show in August join the Junior Relay. They secure donations from family and friends and then participate in an unmounted class during the show, competing for prizes and bragging rights. Naturally, we also write restricted grants in support of our scholarship program.

Click here to to learn more, or to donate to the scholarship fund. Or, if you are a current client, and have not received our most recently updated scholarship paperwork, please email [email protected]. We have recently updated the forms to reflect the FY 2019 median household Income for Sonoma County as determined by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.