November 7, 2021

North County African American Women’s Association Annual Scholarship Fundraiser Returns through Unexpected Generosity 

Alma Sisco-Smith, Global Ambassador Program Lead-Teen Mentoring Program, North County African American Women’s Association


On Saturday, September 25th, the North County African American Women’s Association  held their 24th signature scholarship fundraiser, known as the Gentlemen’s Gourmet, on the new Luna Lawn of the Omni La Costa Resort. For the last 24 years the event has provided nearly $300,000 dollars in scholarships to nearly 400 young women. Though a well-known event, this year’s theme, Color the Night, was something unique and spectacular to have experienced.

Unfortunately, the 2020 event had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, back then, plans for the 2021 event remained unclear. The organization felt that a devastating impact to the program was inevitable and given the effects of the virus on the community, there seemed to be no way to achieve the financial resources necessary to gift 20 to 25 scholarships totaling over $25,000 in time to open the application cycle for 2021. Yet, gradually donations began to come in from various community resources, some with parent companies as far away as San Francisco and Arizona. The sense of gratitude continued to mount.

By the end of 2020, contributions were sufficient to assure the North County African American Women’s Association that the usual number of applications and awards could be made. Therefore, an announcement was made at the end of May 2021 that 31 applicants at all levels – high school, undergraduate, and graduate – would be awarded scholarships. A huge relief to all, especially to those who received the scholarships!

The 24th annual Gentlemen’s Gourmet fundraiser was able to successfully take place in September 2021. The event turned out to be an amazing night as the sun dropped below the horizon, string lights and lanterns added a continued warmth to the event, and a burst of community camaraderie rose to continue over 4 hours. The joy and vibrancy were apparent from beginning to end, with pictures of the 31 scholarship recipients posted front and center as the festivities began and guests arrived to taste the chefs’ dishes. 




One attendee who messaged the organization stated, “Thank you for this beautiful evening. The Omni was a perfect venue.  The panel of judges was impressive, the musicians were superb, and, of course, the food was delicious.”

Another attendee stated, “There was no doubt that this event was restorative.  It is what we all needed for our mental health and resilience. As a musician, I was able to sit and enjoy the conversation at safe distancing, with beautiful background sounds, feeling a new sense of hope.”

There it was for all to share, the faith, hope and love for each other, as well as those coming along for our future.  There was no better way to end the evening than knowing the Color of Night was a tribute to a respect for our diversity and humanity.

For more information on the North County African American Women’s Association or to apply for the scholarships, please go to  To view the scholarships awarded, go to the organization’s website at