Our Grants

It is our honor to help our fellow San Diegans through our grant program. Below are some of our grant recipients throughout the years. To protect their privacy, first and last names may not be displayed.

To request a grant, click the “Request a Grant” button.

Scott Carlson / Dan Ferbal Community Thanksgiving Dinner

Rob Benzon/Dan Ferbal Foundation has again answered the call to assist with the costs of the
annual Scott Carlson/Dan Ferbal Community Thanksgiving Dinner. The dinner was held this
year at the San Diego LGBTQ Community Center on Thanksgiving Day.

This tradition began in 1988 when Scott Carlson hosted a Thanksgiving Celebration for
HIV/AIDS patients. In 2020, In remembrance, our founding board member and past president,
Dan Ferbal’s name was added to the title of this annual event, and the tradition of giving
continues to provide a hot Thanksgiving meal for those in need in our community.

The dinner now includes people with cancer and other ailments, homeless people, and anyone
needing a safe and inviting place to come together as a community on this holiday. More than
600 individuals benefited this year from the 2023 Thanksgiving feast.

Grant awarded in November 2023

The Imperial Court of San Diego Turkey Drive

The Rob Benzon/Dan Ferbal Foundation approved a grant request from The Imperial Court of San Diego for assistance with their annual purchase of turkeys to distribute to those in need within the San Diego Community. The beneficiaries of these holiday turkeys are impoverished, struggling seniors, needy members of the LGBTQ Community and those living with HIV/AIDS. This is an additional food drive to the Scott Carlson/Dan Ferbal Thanksgiving dinner, and our foundation was honored to support this worthy cause.

Grant awarded in November 2023

Children of Holiday Magic Project

Children of Holiday Magic Project annually produces thousands of 12-page activity/coloring and interactive CD books that are distributed during the holiday season to sick, hospital-bound children at Rady’s Children’s Hospital of San Diego. The Rob Benzon/Dan Ferbal Foundation was proud to underwrite the printing costs for these much-anticipated “Care Deer Pack” children’s books for hospitalized children.

Grant awarded in November 2023

Holiday Toys Wounded Warriors Children

Rob Benzon/Dan Ferbal Foundation approved a grant to purchase and deliver toys to the children of the Wounded Warrior Project in collaboration with Luis Fitch of the Warm Smiles Project. Johan Engman, owner of the Breakfast Republic and Fig Tree Café and his team provide a meal yearly to the families, and the Warm Smiles Project and the Rob Benzon/Dan Ferbal Foundation hand-delivered toys to the children on Christmas Day. This grant ensures that hundreds of children in need will receive a holiday gift. Many of these children reported that this was the only toy they receive for the holiday!

Grant awarded in November 2023

Sean R.

The Rob Benzon/Dan Ferbal Foundation approved a grant request for Sean R., an employee
of a local catering company and supporter of our Launch event and our mission. He never
dreamed that he might need to ask us for help.

Sean and his wife Aubrey were expecting their first child in September. Earlier in the year Sean
severely broke his leg and tore every ligament in his ankle. He was out of work for over 3
months. Sadly, disability benefits were not enough to cover his household expenses to survive,
and he used up the savings set aside for their baby expenses. Rob Benzon/Dan Ferbal
Foundation stepped in and granted funds to help pay several months of rent and some of their
family’s overdue utility bills. We kept his family from becoming homeless and the lights on for
this family in need.

Grant awarded in August of 2023

Ronald W.

Rob Benzon/Dan Ferbal Foundation approved a critical grant request for Ronald W. Ronald
had a series of strokes and experienced a long hospitalization. Because of his debilitating
condition, he was unaware that his medical coverage lapsed. He desperately needed to
participate in an intensive Traumatic Brain Injury program through Sharp Medical. This grant
funded six months of Cobra insurance from March to August 2023. Having valid insurance
allowed Ronald to participate in this intensive Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) program which was
essential to his recovery.

Grant awarded in August of 2023

Vanessa R.

The Rob Benzon/Dan Ferbal Foundation approved a grant request for Vanessa R. who was driving through an intersection in Logan Heights when she was a victim of a drive by shooting. The bullet went through her car window and entered her thigh. She suffered extensive tissue damage. This single mother of three small children was so grateful her children were not with her. Vanessa is an accomplished hairdresser who relies on her income to support her family. During her recovery, she was unable to work. This struggling family was in danger of becoming homeless and having their car repossessed. RBDFF provided funding to pay her rent and make her car payment, keeping this family housed and with reliable transportation.

Grant awarded in June of 2023

Camp Spero

Rob Benzon/Dan Ferbal Foundation was proud to support Camp Spero in partnership with the Center for Compassionate Care of the Elizabeth Hospice. This important charity is part of a network of free bereavement camps for children and teens ages 6 to 17 years of age who have experienced the death of someone close to them. Camp Spero’s counselors run specially designed activities to assist these children with the bereavement process. Our grant provided funds to supply the kids and volunteers attending the camp with much needed event-themed tee shirts. An additional grant provided “Remembrance Teddy Bears” for all the children attending the camp.

Grant awarded in May 2023

Special Delivery of San Diego

The Rob Benzon/Dan Ferbal Foundation approved a grant request for Ruth Hendricks with Special Delivery to support their meal program. This worthwhile program improves the nutritional status and quality of life for members of the LGBTQ community living with life-threatening illnesses in San Diego. Special Delivery provides nutritious, medically approved meals for those in need. This grant specifically funded the food pantry at Special Delivery San Diego and provided the needed groceries for 3 meals per day for two weeks, supporting destitute clients with AIDS, heart disease, cancer, kidney disease, and other life-threatening illnesses.

Grant awarded in May of 2023

Rob Benzon / Daniel J. Ferbal Memorial Scholarships

The Rob Benzon / Dan Ferbal Foundation (RBDFF) is proud to have awarded two scholarships through the annual PFLAG Scholarship Awards to two deserving LGBTQ students pursuing higher education.

The Rob Benzon Memorial Scholarship: Awarded to Alexis L.

Next fall Alexis plans to attend the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). As a mental health advocate and LGBTQ+ activist, Alexis hopes to collaborate with important on-campus organizations Active Minds and Complete Cognitive Care, who have large chapters at UCLA.

Active Minds is a nonprofit organization that offers counseling support and strives to end the stigma surrounding mental health struggles, while Complete Cognitive Care provides mental health resources to underserved communities at UCLA.

Alexis’ goal is to connect the low-income communities, the Latinx community, and the LGBTQ+ community to accessible mental health resources. Knowing these communities are more prone to suicide, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, he wants to become properly educated and equipped to be the support these communities need.

Alexis aspires to receive a doctorate level education, become a psychologist, and make a difference working with these marginalized groups.

Grant awarded in March 2023

Daniel J. Ferbal Memorial Scholarship: Awarded to Diego P

Diego is a graduating senior from Montgomery High School in San Diego, California. He is the Montgomery High School GSA President, and the first generation of his family to attend college. He has been accepted to Yale University and plans on attending in the fall.

His academic and career aspirations include his continued support of his community. Diego’s leadership translates into his activism. As a queer, Latin activist, his knows his participation in GSA has been the inspiration to continue to develop his voice and further his goal to create safe LGBTQIA+ spaces and to champion the issues and talents of queer folks.

Diego stated in his grant application: “My goal is to continue to embrace and nurture the vibrant communal culture of queer spaces in my hometown, university, and worldwide–building safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ people to express their thoughts, opinions, and issues openly.”

Grant awarded in March 2023