Established: Feb 28, 2008


The 2019 Nelson Fund scholarship cycle is now closed.  Interviews will be conducted on April 6th at the Foundation.  Each year, graduating seniors attending Vacaville H.S., Will C. Wood H.S., and Buckingham Magnet Charter H.S.  The Harry and Eleanor D. Nelson Vacaville Endowment Fund are eligible to apply.  

Eleven scholarships will be awarded to students enrolled to begin college in the fall.  There are five Nelson Scholarships available at $20,000 each (payable over four years at $5,000 per year), five Briggs Scholarships at $2,000 each (one year only), and one Powell Scholarship at $5,000 (one year only to a V.H.S. student). 

Students interested in applying should first read the eligibility criteria, then download and complete the appropriate application form.  The next application cycle begins in February of 2020. 


All new and renewal scholarship recipients must complete and return a Student Enrollment Verification Form for payment processing. Download the appropriate form by clicking on the link below. Students receiving a Nelson 4-year (renewable) scholarship are required to submit a verification form each year. Type directly on the form and return it to SCF electronically as an email attachment. Recipients may also complete and print the form to send in via regular mail. Scholarship payments are sent directly to the school, for deposit to the student's account. 


Harry and Eleanor D. Nelson Scholarship - $14,000 each ($3,500 per year for 4 years)
High School Student Name Major or Career University
Vacaville Alyssa Barling Nursing Dominican University of California
Buckingham Charter M.H.S. Ruth Bowen Business Cal Lutheran University
Will C. Wood  Jenna Kitzes Musical Theater CSU Chico
Buckingham Charter M.H.S. Zoe Johnson Biology UC Davis
Buckingham Charter M.H.S. Asia Lew-Douglas History CSU Sacramento
Will C. Wood Brette Alana Stout International Studies & Jazz Studies University of the Pacific
Will C. Wood Sarah Williamson Microbiology UC Davis
Auldin Briggs Achievement Scholarship - $2,500 each
High School Student Name Major or Career University
Buckingham Charter M.H.S. Isaiah Mercado-Acosta Journalism & Government CSU Sacramento
Vacaville Macguire Buss Criminal Justice CSU Chico
Grace B. Powell V.H.S Scholarship - $5,000
High School Student Name Major or Career University
Vacaville Corey Kato Chemical Engineering UC Los Angeles


We extend our congratulations to ten highly deserving graduating seniors from three Vacaville high schools, all of whom have been awarded a generous scholarship from the Harry and Eleanor D. Nelson Vacaville Endowment Fund, a component fund of the Solano Community Foundation.  A record number of forty-five applications were received this year. Twenty-four students applied for one of the seven Harry and Eleanor D. Nelson Scholarships available, eighteen students applied for one of the two Auldin Briggs Achievement Scholarships, and three students applied for the one Grace B. Powell Vacaville High School Scholarship.

The students in each scholarship pool were extremely qualified and the selection process was highly competitive. Best wishes to all of the applicants for every success in their future endeavors!

Harry and Eleanor D. Nelson Scholarship -- $14,000 each ($3,500 per year for 4 years)
High School Student Name Major or Career University
Will C. Wood Dylan Nute Mathematics/Teacher CSU Polytecnic 
Will C. Wood Ian Kitamura Civil Engineering UC Irvine
Will C. Wood Mercedes Hall Biology, Environmental Studies UC Berkeley
Buckingham Charter M.H.S. Mikayla Canales Biology, for Teaching CSU Sacramento
Vacaville Cassidy Aberson Biochemistry/Molecular Biology Pepperdine
Will C. Wood Willow Rigney Health Science CSU Chico
Will C. Wood Hailey Milsaps US History CSU Sacramento
Auldin Briggs Achievement Scholarship -- $2,500 ea. (one pmt) 
High School Student Name Major or Career University
Vacaville  Kristoffer Hernandez Nursing or Neuroscience CSU Riverside
Buckingham Charter M.H.S. Rita Zughbaba Radiology Napa Valley Community College
Grace B. Powell V.H.S. Scholarship -- $5,000 (one pmt) 
High School Student Name Major or Career University
Vacaville  Cassiel Nortier-Tilly Aquatic Biology UC Santa Barbara


Originally named “Vacaville Community Foundation” by Harry and Eleanor D. Nelson in 1967, this fund focused on benefitting Vacaville residents. Technically not a “community foundation,” but a private foundation, the Nelsons promoted education through the granting of scholarships to seniors in Vacaville high schools for college and postgraduate study. The secondary purpose was, and still is to promote public recreation, preservation of the environment, and preservation of historical records and relics.

In 2008, this private foundation dissolved and moved the assets to a new endowed scholarship fund at the Solano Community Foundation. SCF is now the successor and administrator of The Harry and Eleanor D. Nelson Vacaville Endowment Fund and their scholarship program. 

Historically, most of the funds distributed have been as scholarship awards. Initially, grants made were one-time, non-renewable awards of a few hundred dollars to a handful of students.

Now, decades later, SCF awards ten scholarships annually to deserving high school seniors: seven 4-year "Nelson" scholarships (totaling $14,000 each), one $5,000 "Powell" scholarship, and two "Briggs" scholarships ($2,500 each). 

Harry and Eleanor D. Nelson - A BRIEF HISTORY

Harry Nelson graduated from the University of California at Davis and was an agriculturalist with landholdings in the Vacaville area. 

His wife, Eleanor Dexter Nelson, a native of Lodi, graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. She began teaching in Vacaville in 1920 and retired from teaching Spanish and English at Vacaville High School in 1951. During her "retirement," Mrs. Nelson devoted her energies to community service, including inauguration of a city recreational program for youth, organization of Fiesta Days, and the establishment of the Vacaville Museum.


The 2016 cycle brought with it a change in the number of scholarships awarded and the amount of each award.  The Nelson scholarship award amount was decreased from $5,000 to $3,500 per year, but the number of awards was increased from 5 scholarships to 7. The Briggs scholarship amount was decreased from $5,000 to $2,500, but now there are two awarded each year.

Vacaville Brenden Barling UC Davis $3,500 – 4-year
Vacaville Shelby M. Blackman Long Beach State University $3,500 – 4-year
Will C. Wood Damon Lewis San Diego State University $3,500 – 4-year
Will C. Wood Mackenzie Magaoay Long Beach State University $3,500 – 4-year
Will C. Wood Imari Pugh Sacramento State University $3,500 – 4-year
Vacaville Austin Roe Cal Poly San Luis Obispo $3,500 – 4-year
Will C. Wood Shaina Whaley Solano Community College $3,500 – 4-year
AULDIN BRIGGS Scholarships
Will C. Wood Saahil Patel UC Los Angeles $2,500 - one-time
Vacaville Miranda Psaila University of Nevada, Reno $2,500 - one-time
GRACE B. POWELL Scholarship
Vacaville Jarrod Jentgen UC Davis $5,000 - one-time


The 2015 "Nelson Fund" scholarship recipient list is shown below. A total of 39 applications were received. Twenty-one students applied for a Harry and Eleanor D. Nelson Scholarship, eleven students applied for the Auldin Briggs Achievement Scholarship, and seven students applied for the Grace B. Powell Scholarship, but not all were from Vacaville High School seniors.

Award Amount High School Student Name College or University
Nelson $20,000 Will C. Wood Ryan Cunning Cal Polytechnic State University
Nelson $20,000 Will C. Wood Joshua Salazar UC Santa Barbara
Nelson $20,000 Will C. Wood Jiashu Zhou UC Los Angeles
Nelson $20,000 Will C. Wood Amanda Barthelmes William Jessup University
Nelson $20,000 Vacaville High Emily Poulsen-Jones CSU Monterey Bay
Powell $5,000 Vacaville High Jessica Papadopoulos UC Los Angeles
Briggs $5,000 Vacaville High Zachary Hancock Brigham Young University

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