Press Releases

Don Diego Featured on KOCT’s February “Oceanside Spectrum”

Don Diego Scholarship Foundation is featured on KOCT’s current “Oceanside Spectrum” now airing on TV through February 28, 2020. The show highlights Don Diego’s 2020 education program offering $69,000 in college scholarships to 24 students in the San Diego area who have participated in Del Mar Fairgrounds activities such as the San Diego County Fair.

In the lively, five-minute segment, exuberant host Kellie Davis interviews Don Diego Executive Director Chana Mannen and 2019 scholarship recipient Megan Kelly.

Megan, now a freshman majoring in Liberal Studies at Cal State San Marcos, wisely recommends that applicants for a 2020 scholarship devote time and effort to completing their application fully; showcasing why they deserve the scholarship.

Mannen unveiled this year’s new opportunities, including an endowed scholarship and a renewable $5,000 scholarship that will support a student through all four years of undergraduate studies. She states, “We thank KOCT for highlighting our scholarship program and encourage college-bound students to ascertain their eligibility and apply before the March 23, 2020 deadline at”

The Don Diego Scholarship Foundation was named for Don Diego, AKA Tom Hernandez, who served as the Fair’s welcoming goodwill ambassador from 1947-1984.

To date since its inception in 1986, the Foundation has awarded $1,040,000 in scholarships to 257 students and in agriculture education grants. More information is at and

Don Diego Offers $69,000 in 2020 College Scholarships to 24 San Diego Area Students – Apply by 3/23/20

The Don Diego Scholarship Foundation is excited to offer a whopping total of $69,000 in 2020 college scholarships – including two exciting new opportunities – to 24 outstanding and deserving students who reside in the San Diego area and have participated in the San Diego County Fair and/or other activities associated with the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

The deadline to apply is March 23, 2020. Finalist interviews will be held in May. Recipients will be honored at the 2020 Don Diego Gala at the San Diego County Fair.

Scholarships are offered in six categories. Individual awards range from $1,000 to $20,000. Eligibility details and applications are at

Scholarships recipients are selected based upon submitted applications and interviews by a committee comprised of Don Diego Board and community members.

Scholarships of $5,000, $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000 will be awarded in each of four categories: Zable Foundation 4-H; FFA; Employee; and Exhibitor/Participant. The $5,000 Spanjian Family Scholarship will be awarded to an outstanding $5,000 recipient from one of the above categories for a total $10,000 award.

NEW: An unprecedented, $5,000 scholarship renewable for three additional years of college will be awarded to an outstanding candidate from one of the above categories. This total $20,000, four-year scholarship is funded by the CGW Family Foundation, which is the charitable trust of Carolyn G. Wheeler and her family, which includes Don Diego Board member, John Hoeflich.

One $5,000, one $2,500, one $1,500 and two $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to participants in the Fair’s Junior Livestock Auction (JLA).

NEW: A debut $3,000 JLA scholarship will be offered via the inaugural William and Betty Ann Tulloch Endowed Scholarship honoring this iconic San Diego County Fair family’s deep agricultural roots. The scholarship is funded by the Tulloch Family.

Executive Director […]

$75,000 Don Diego Tulloch Scholarship Honors Iconic San Diego County Fair Family’s Deep Agricultural Roots

The Tulloch clan’s agricultural roots in San Diego run as deep as the 70-foot well hand-dug by their Sawday ancestors who settled on the Ramona property more than 100 years ago, making it symbolic that Don Diego Scholarship Foundation’s first matching named scholarship is the William (Bill) and Elizabeth (Betty Ann) Tulloch Family Scholarship.

Don Diego Board member Glenn Drown, Bill and Betty Ann’s son-in-law, pledged $25,000 at the June 2019 Gala, when for one historic evening the Foundation matched each pledge two-for-one; thus creating a $75,000 named scholarship. The inaugural award is a $3,000 Junior Livestock Auction 2020 college scholarship.

Bill, 93, and Betty Ann, 88, were not at the Gala that evening, but were well represented by family members, most of whom have been involved with cattle ranching, 4-H, FFA, farm organizations and the San Diego County Fair their entire lives. The couple learned of the honor from Glenn and his wife Margaret at their charming, century-old family ranch, where the Butterfield Stage once traversed and where today eagles still soar, deer and puma roam, and cattle graze.

The home is adorned with vintage treasures such as handcrafted quilts, leather cowbells and a restored stained glass window from a old, shuttered church. Outside, 200 head of cattle speak to a way of life that many people think has disappeared in San Diego but is very much alive here in the backcountry.

In 1849, one year before California became a state, London merchant Fredrick Sawday was born. In the late 1870s, he and his wife Sarah emigrated to the Julian area, where they homesteaded 320 acres and opened a general merchandise store. In 1904, eldest son George married Emily Crouch, […]

Del Mar’s Jill Coughlin Honored for 30 Years as San Diego County Fair’s Plant*Grow*Eat Coordinator

JUNE 26, 2019

Del Mar, CA … In 1989, Jill Coughlin enthusiastically dove into her new job as Plant*Grow*Eat Coordinator at the San Diego County Fair. She developed a curriculum that met science guidelines for elementary schools. Then, bearing soil, seeds, pots and instructions, she visited classrooms throughout San Diego County in advance of the Fair to show students how to plant and nurture their edible plants. Several weeks later, when the eager young farmers stepped off their school buses to scamper to the Infield Farm, proudly display their bounty to the judges, receive ribbons for their efforts and dash off to enjoy a memorable agriculture adventure, “Miss Jill” was there to welcome them.

Jill Coughlin was honored on June 23, 2019 by her Fair peers for 30 years of service and for growing the program to help the Fair provide agricultural education to the community. Flabbergasted by the heartfelt accolades, not to mention her festive cake decorated with real radishes, Coughlin revealed, “Over 331,000 children have participated in Plant*Grow*Eat. I have so many delightful memories!”

A longtime Del Mar resident, Coughlin has recruited dozens of volunteer judges from the Del Mar Garden Club and Village Garden Club of La Jolla. This community stalwart is a member of both as well as Del Mar-based Friends of the Powerhouse.

Retired Deputy Fairgrounds Manager Chana Mannen states, “Jill’s passion for agriculture, coupled with her love of children and her organizational skills, have made Plant*Grow*Eat a successful program that has grown in popularity and participation. Her work represents an enduring legacy of the Fair.”

More information about the program can be found at

Don Diego Donors Put Kids on the Road to Fair Fun

JUNE 25, 2019

Del Mar, CA … Summer started one day early at the San Diego County Fair’s June 20, 2019 Plant*Grow*Eat Day when hundreds of bright-eyed elementary students bearing their carefully nurtured edible plants descended from buses to the Infield Farm. Awaiting them were some of the many generous Don Diego Scholarship Foundation donors who sponsored buses so these enthusiastic young farmers could earn well-deserved ribbons and enjoy a memorable agriculture adventure at the Fair.

This year, the generosity of longtime and inaugural group and individual bus sponsors enabled Don Diego to provide 89 buses transporting 4,000+ students from Title 1 schools throughout San Diego County to the Fair on designated Plant*Grow*Eat days.

Multiple-year sponsors returning this year included the Del Mar Foundation, Del Mar Kiwanis, Les Dames de Escoffier, SDG&E and other organizations as well as individuals such as Brenda Larson who say they are passionate about the program.

Among the new sponsors were eight members of the Village Garden Club of La Jolla. Garden Club Member Margaret Anne Lozuk revealed, “As a San Marcos Unified School District teacher, I brought my classes here. I’ve also served as a Plant*Grow*Eat judge. That was really fun! When I learned of the bus sponsorship opportunity at a Village Garden Club of La Jolla meeting, I was happy to hear that the Club itself was a sponsor. I immediately resolved, ‘This is something I also want to do on my own as a way to give back.’ I’m so glad I sponsored a bus and I’m glad to be here with the kids.”

Don Diego Executive Director Chana Mannen, who created Plant*Grow*Eat decades ago when she served as Deputy Manager of the Fair, […]

Don Diego Gala at the Fair Sparkles with Surprises

JUNE 18, 2019

Del Mar, CA … The festive crowd attending Don Diego Scholarship Foundation’s June 15, 2019 Dinner and Smokey Robinson Concert at the San Diego County Fair enjoyed a shimmering evening replete with surprise auction items, a surprise donation opportunity and three surprise donors establishing inaugural Named Scholarships.

The Don Diego Class of 2019: Seated – Katelyn Challman, Jacqueline Kinch, Margaret (Sissy) Sugarman, Kasin Martin, Robert Carmichael, Evan Wright, Russell Sorbo. Standing – Helen Buchanan, Isai Soto, Hailey Bjerknes, Rachel Utter, Elizabeth Navarro, Megan Kelly, Miranda Medford, Elijah Martineau , Marisol Solas. Not pictured: Charlize Rice, Emilie Melnychuk, Johanna Jimenez, Kassidy Gray, Leah Gill, Nick LaRocco, Sol Kier

The whimsical décor of the Infield Pavilion provided a colorful backdrop for delectable dining, presentation of 2019 Scholars, and a lively auction featuring such unique opportunities as Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Turf Club membership, 50-yard-line tickets to an upcoming USC-Oregon football game and an adventure flight in the “Yellow Peril” two-seater piloted by Board member, Rear Admiral Ret. Russ Penniman.

To celebrate surpassing $1 million in total funds raised over the years, the Board unveiled a new Matching Named Scholarship opportunity, which will kickstart efforts to begin raising its second million to support future outstanding students pursuing ambitious college and career goals. A donation of $25,000 or more will be matched by the Foundation, thus doubling the value of the donor’s perpetual Named Scholarship.

When Board Member/Auctioneer Frederick Schenck announced a special Gala-Night-0nly two-for-one donation match, Board member Glenn Drown immediately stepped up to the challenge. To widespread applause, he enthusiastically pledged $25,000 to create a $75,000 Bill and Elizabeth Tulloch Family Scholarship in honor of his Ramona family’s longtime agricultural […]

Don Diego’s 23 Scholarship Recipients Are Eager to Make a Positive Difference

MAY 25, 2019

Del Mar, CA … The 23 graduating high school seniors from throughout San Diego are already vigorous leaders, successful entrepreneurs, and academic standouts poised to excel at universities around the country as they pursue scientific, environmental, healthcare, public service, and other careers that will beneficially impact their communities and the world.

Yes, Don Diego Scholarship Foundation’s Class of 2019 college scholarship recipients are going places, and Don Diego is delighted to help them arrive!

These 23 winners, who triumphed in a highly competitive year that saw nearly 100 qualified applicants, will share $66,000 in awards. They will be celebrated at Don Diego’s June 15, 2019 Dinner & Smokey Robinson Concert at the San Diego County Fair. Gala details and tickets are at

Scholarships in the categories of FFA, 4-H, Employee, Exhibitor/Participant, Junior Livestock Auction (JLA) and Vocational Education were offered to students who reside in the San Diego area and have participated in the Fair and/or other activities associated with the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The coveted Spanjian Family Scholarship is annually awarded to the single most outstanding applicant of all.

Russell Sorbo of Ramona captured the highest honors, winning the top $5,000 FFA Scholarship plus the $5,000 Spanjian. He will use the total $10,000 award to pursue Goat Dairy Science at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on his way to becoming a veterinarian. Don Diego Chairman Roxana Foxx states, “The selection committee unanimously agreed to award the Spanjian to Russell. We were impressed with his academic and extracurricular qualifications, FFA leadership, multiple Fair-related awards and excellent recommendations.” One teacher praised Russell’s “compassion, industriousness, determination and leadership.” Russell notes, “The Fair has guided me to my career path while helping me gain leadership […]

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Don Diego’s June 15 Gala at the Fair

April 16, 2019

Del Mar, CA … A festive celebration awaits guests at Don Diego Scholarship Foundation’s exclusive June 15, 2019 Gala at the San Diego County Fair. Tickets at are $275, with a $25 discount to $250 if purchased by June 3, 2019.

Gala-goers enjoy all-day preferred parking, hosted cocktails at 4:30 pm, a delectable farm-to-table small plates dinner and champagne dessert, all culminating in VIP Grandstand seating for legendary performer Smokey Robinson.

In keeping with the Fair’s “Wizard of Oz” theme, the Infield Pavilion will welcome guests to a shimmering emerald evening under the stars. The major stars will be Don Diego’s 2019 college scholarship recipients, who will mingle with San Diego’s finest, be presented, and help auction off unique items including a case of Gold Medal wines, Blue Ribbon lamb, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to be divulged at the event.

Don Diego Chairman Roxana Foxx states, “This year’s Gala is very special as we celebrate topping one million dollars in scholarship support to incredible students over the years. The event gives us an opportunity to thank our generous donors and to kick-start efforts to raise our second million. We have many surprises in store and encourage people to buy tickets before the event sells out.”

Don Diego Featured on KOCT’s March “Oceanside Spectrum”

March 2, 2019

Del Mar, CA … First up on KOCT’s March 2019 “Oceanside Spectrum” show is Don Diego Scholarship Foundation!

The lively feature, which airs throughout March on TV and on-demand at, highlights Don Diego’s 2019 scholarship program offering 28 college scholarships totaling $66,000 to students who reside in the San Diego area and have participated in the Fair or other activities associated with the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Oceanside Spectrum host Kellie Davis interviews Don Diego Executive Director Chana Mannen and 2018 Employee category recipient Victoria Navarro. Victoria began her multiple-year Fairgrounds tenure at age 14 picking up trash at the Fair. She relates, “I learned a good work ethic, earned money and made many friends.” Victoria currently attends Palomar College on her way to majoring in Kinesiology at Vanguard University.

“Victoria exemplifies the high caliber of student Don Diego is pleased to support,” says Mannen. “We thank KOCT for showcasing our scholarship program and encourage college-bound students to check out guidelines and apply before the March 18, 2019 deadline at”

The Don Diego Scholarship Foundation was named for Don Diego, AKA Tom Hernandez, who served as the Fair’s welcoming goodwill ambassador from 1947-1984.
To date since its inception in 1986, the Foundation has awarded nearly $975,000 in scholarships to 232 students and in agriculture education grants. More information is at and

Help Kids Enjoy a Growing Adventure at the Fair!

February 20, 2019

Del Mar, CA … Plant the seeds for a lifetime appreciation of farm-fresh healthy nutrition by donating to Don Diego Scholarship Foundation’s Plant*Grow*Eat (PGE) transportation program. You’ll get free publicity, VIP parking and admission to the 2019 San Diego County Fair on “your” day plus the delight of sharing an exciting growth experience with eager elementary students.

To advance the Fair’s PGE agricultural education program, Don Diego sponsors buses that bring students from Title I schools to the Fair’s Infield Farm. They showcase their carefully nurtured produce, receive a ribbon for their efforts, then scamper off to explore farm exhibits and even pet an animal or two!

Whether they grow a fat, red radish as big as a tomato or a teeny, tiny tomato no larger than a radish, the children are justifiably proud of their efforts. Last year, Perkins Elementary second-grader Romeo confided, “I don’t like radishes when we get them from the store. But when I eat the one I grew, it tasted good!” Special Education student Kevin could not stop smiling when he won a blue ribbon. Showing his PGE savvy, Kevin reported, “I planted this. I grew this. And now, I will eat it!”

Bus sponsors have as much fun as the children whose agriculture adventure they make possible. In 2018, Del Mar Foundation’s Ira Sharp noted, “The judges take the time to praise each child. I love checking out their veggies and seeing the pure joy.”

SDG&E’s Morgan Justice-Black and Addie Woodard said, “Our donation is very well-spent. It’s so cool to know that children are learning where their food comes from.”

Don Diego Executive Director Chana Mannen, who as former Deputy Manager of the […]