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San Diego County college students encouraged to apply for GSDBA Foundation scholarships

SAN DIEGO -- The application cycle for the annual GSDBA Charitable Foundation student scholarships has opened and over $17,000 will be doled out to deserving students this year.

The funds for the scholarship program are raised at the annual Hillcrest Mardi Gras celebration, which is presented by the Hillcrest Business Association (HBA), Urban Mo's, and the GSDBA Charitable Foundation.

This year's event, held March 8, attracted over 3,000 people and included a record number of sponsors such as Absolut Vodka, Bud Light, Viejas Casino, Jagermeister and California Bank & Trust, organizers said.

"It is an honor for the GSDBA Charitable Foundation to be able to distribute all of the proceeds to deserving San Diego LGBT college students," said Stampp Corbin, president of the foundation.

Matthew Ramon, manager of Urban Mo's, said that he is pleased with the event's growth over the last decade, which has contributed to the large amount of scholarship money that is available.

"We started the Hillcrest Mardi Gras 10 years ago in the parking lot of Mo's," Ramon said. "Now it has grown to take over University Avenue with a turnout of over 2,000 people in attendance. What is so great is that the community has a great night of Mardi Gras debauchery, while giving back to the community.

"Over the past 10 years, we were able to give thousands of dollars back to people in our community who need a little support in their education."

Along with providing funding for the GSDBA Charitable Foundation's scholarship program, proceeds from the Mardi Gras celebration also contributes to community improvements, said Benjamin Nicholls, executive director of HBA.

"Hillcrest has always been a neighborhood where people can have fun and throw a fabulous party," Nicholls said.

"The great thing about Hillcrest Mardi Gras is that we have fun and at the same time raise tens of thousands of dollars for LGBT Youth Scholarships and Hillcrest Community Improvements. The HBA has committed money raised at Mardi Gras in 2011 to installing eight new street lights on Fifth Ave. between Washington and University in the heart of Hillcrest. What could be more fun than that?"

The application for the scholarship is available online and due by Wednesday, Aug. 31.

Applicants are required to complete the application along with submitting transcripts; essay question responses; proof of enrollment from an accredited college, university or vocational school; and two letters of recommendation. Additional criteria and information is available online.

The next Hillcrest Mardi Gras event will be held Feb. 21, 2012 along University Avenue at Fourth Avenue. Johnathan Hale, CEO of Hale Media and chair of the Hillcrest Business Association's Special Events Committee, said that "Mardi Gras 2012 is going to be the best Mardi Gras Hillcrest has ever seen. Look for new features that are going to knock your socks off!"

"The Hillcrest Business Association and an amazing group of volunteers and sponsors work hard to produce high quality, successful events for the entire community to enjoy while raising funds to support projects that all of us can believe in, such as the scholarship program and neighborhood beautification program," Hale said.

For more information about the student scholarship, click HERE.