Wednesday, September 22, 2021     Volume: 22, Issue: 29

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on August 15th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 24 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 24

Brandon Harper Foundation raises $2,000 for extra scholarship

By Kasey Bubnash

Just two years into its existence, the Brandon Harper Foundation received 56 applications for its $2,000 college scholarship this school year.

The Brandon L. Harper Memorial Scholarship, which is entirely paid for by donations and through fundraising, typically goes to one charismatic and resilient Santa Maria Joint Union High School District graduate each year. But this year, Katina Gleason, president of the foundation, said its board of directors couldn't choose between two amazing applicants–so they gave a scholarship to both. 

Third prize winner Shelly Mang (far right) stands with several members of the Brandon Harper Foundation at the foundation’s raffle fundraiser on Aug. 4. Mang won $250 cash.

Recent high school graduates Kayleigh Hollum and Miranda Silva were each announced as recipients on May 4, Gleason said, and both are expected to make good use of the money. 

But two winners need double the funds, and the Brandon Harper Foundation recently hosted an online raffle fundraiser to make up for the extra cost. Three prize winners were announced on Aug. 4 via a Facebook livestream, and Gleason said the raffle raised about $2,000. 

The first prize winner, Michelle Campbell, won four tickets to a National Football League game in September, when the 49ers will take on the Raiders. Liz Enriquez won a Michael Kors bag and wallet, and Shelly Mang won $250 cash. 

Local sponsors helped the foundation pay for the prizes, Gleason said, and scores of community members purchased raffle tickets. 

"We're only two years in and we have an incredible following," Gleason told the Sun.

The Brandon Harper Foundation was established by close-knit group of friends in January 2017, a decade after longtime Santa Maria resident Brandon Harper was killed by an intoxicated driver on his way to dinner in 2007. 

Harper was 26 years old, and his death shocked family members, friends, and the community at large. The highly publicized incident and following trial forced law enforcement officials to rethink guidelines and tactics used during vehicle pursuits–the drunk driver who killed Harper was being chased by Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office deputies at the time of the crash–and shined a light on the area's long struggle with drugged and drunk driving.

Gleason and several of Harper's close friends developed the foundation and its fundraiser in an effort to celebrate Harper's memory, and another fundraiser for next year's scholarship–or scholarships–is slated for October. 

Weekly Poll
What are the most important conversations to be having right now when it comes to policing?

We need to address how racial bias influences policing.
We should focus on funding the police so they can do their job.
Mental health is where our dollars need to go, both in and out of the police department.
As one Sept. 20 community input meeting attendee said,

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