Rancho Grande announces new scholarship fund for Ojai residents to promote animal wellbeing

$5,000 to high school student demonstrating a passion for animal welfare

Ojai, CA – Alex Murad, director of animal welfare at Rancho Grande, today announced the formation of the Rancho Grande Scholarship Fund on Behalf of Animals. The fund will provide an annual award of $5,000 in tuition assistance or other school expenses to the winner of a 500 word essay on the importance of protecting the rights and welfare of animals. 

The first award will be made in June 2019 for the 2019-20 school year. In its first year, the award will be restricted to Ojai residents that will be attending the Besant Hill School because of its small size, well-rounded and – respected reputation, and its willingness to create opportunities for all of its students to engage with Rancho Grande in on-site educational opportunities. In future years, the program may be expanded to other private high schools. Applications are due no later than August 1st 2019.  Applications can be emailed to In the event no Ojai residents submit applications the scholarship will be opened to residents of other communities. Once approved for scholarship consideration the applicants name will go on to the school for their consideration and approval. All applications must meet financial need and academic requirements as set by the school to be excepted and to receive the award.  

“With this scholarship, we seek to increase student interest in and commitment to animal rights and animal welfare,” Murad said. “The scholarship recipient will share Rancho Grande’s passionate commitment to animal wellbeing and strive to become educated ways to improve animal welfare, including giving a voice to those who have none,” he said. The winning applicant’s essay will explain the writer’s thoughts on animal care and describe what enhancing the wellbeing of animals means to them.  

Murad notes that the very minimum of accepted care established by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) ensures that an animal is healthy, comfortable, well-nourished, safe, able to express its innate behavior, and not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress. “However, we believe that animal welfare also requires an acknowledgement that the quality of animal life is a human responsibility. That’s why at Rancho Grande we are continually looking for ways to educate and encourage all humans to adopt an even higher standard of care. The successful applicant will do the same.”

About Rancho Grande

Rancho Grande is a unique, 200-acre, off-grid, sustainable preserve located in a secluded and private valley 3,500 feet above sea level. Completely surrounded by the mountains of the Los Padres National Forest, Rancho Grande is home to historic, century-old log cabins that still provide shelter, rolling hills covered in mature oak, bay, and pine trees, running creeks, and lakes naturally stocked with local fish and turtles. Rancho Grande is also home to an eclectic family of alpacas, goats, lambs, chickens, horses, cows, parrots, pigs, dogs, cats and humans, all of whom live in peace with the forest, the surrounding communities and the abundant natural wildlife that also make Rancho Grande their home.

About Besant Hill School

The Happy Valley School was founded in Ojai, California, in 1946. Now known as Besant Hill School of Happy Valley, it is a small boarding school with a philosophy that remains true to the vision of its founders: an environment that encourages the fullest development of student potential is one that affords the opportunity to explore creative as well as intellectual abilities. Accordingly, the mission of Besant Hill School is to develop each student’s intellectual and artistic abilities. We further believe that a school with a global community cultivates intercultural understanding and promotes world peace. Through awakening the spirit of inquiry, we encourage students to pursue integrity and excellence, develop a lifelong habit and love of learning, as is embodied in the school’s motto, Aun Aprendo—I am still learning. For more information, contact Kristen Kaschub, M.Ed., director of advancement and external affairs Besant Hill School. 8585 Ojai Santa Paul Road Ojai CA 93023 (805) 646.4343 ext 142.