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Joseph Towner Fund for Gay and Lesbian Families

The deadline for the scholarships has already passed. Please check back again.

Relationships among LGBT parents and their children that successfully overcome societal pressures are strong and vibrant role models for the LGBT community. Access to emotional and financial support can be a crucial factor in meeting such challenges.

This philosophy was strongly advocated by former Bay Area resident Joseph Towner. As a result, with a generous gift from Mr. Towner's estate, Horizons Foundation proudly sponsors the Joseph Towner Fund for Gay and Lesbian Families. The purpose of the fund is to award scholarships to post-secondary students who have at least one LGBT parent residing in one of the nine Bay Area counties. Scholarships are awarded for tuition and/or cost of books. Students who feel they have overcome challenges in their life are strongly encouraged to apply.

Horizons and COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere) have worked together to award scholarships honoring Joseph Towner as well as another gay father, Lee Dubin. Each scholarship will support post-secondary students who have demonstrated ability and commitment to effecting change in the LGBT community and the community at large and who have one or more LGBT parent(s)/guardian(s).

Who Can Apply?

Applicants must:

  • Have one or more lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender parent(s)/guardian(s).
  • Be enrolled in an accredited postsecondary institution. No graduate level or higher applicants, please.
  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0.
  • Be willing to be named publicly in association with COLAGE, Horizons Foundation, and the Scholarship Program.

For questions, please contact COLAGE at 415.861.KIDS (5437) or

Past Joseph Towner Fund Scholarship Recipients:

Ariel Pearson-Totino majored in deaf studies at California State University, Northridge. Her long-range goal is to become an interpreter for the deaf in a theatrical or musical environment. "This scholarship will help finance my college tuition and expenses. Besides having financial need, my political involvement in the GLBT community shows that I am a strong candidate for this scholarship."

Elaina Scrutchins was a psychology major at Sonoma State University. Her long-range academic goal is to get her doctorate degree in psychology. Support from the fund "is important to me because it represents an appreciation for and support of being real to one's self. As I witnessed my mother come out after 29 years of marriage and the amazing support she received, my belief systems were forced to change."