Legacy Scholarships

The CGA Educational Foundation has created a unique scholarship program designed to acknowledge and advance the legacy of many of California’s grocery leaders and recognize them for their many contributions.

The Foundation established the “Legacy Scholarship” program. Under the program, the Foundation hopes to encourage the creation of new Legacy scholarships that will honor CGAEF’s Hall of Achievement honorees, both past and future, as well as the many other men and women who have had rewarding and influential careers in the grocery industry.

“The thinking behind the program has been deep and heartfelt,” said Allan Scharn, former Foundation Chair and Hall of Achievement Inductee. “Many of the industry’s most prominent leaders have shared similar career paths: They started as a box person or checker at a single store and kept moving up the ladder and deeper into the corporate realm, never losing sight of their devotion and passion for the business.”

“The stature of the people in our industry is so profound. We felt it would be wonderful if there was a vehicle to recognize the many contributions these individuals have made to the industry,” said Scharn, who retired as President of Gelson’s Markets in 1996.

“This is a way for the family members of these individuals, or their companies, or the individuals themselves to offer an ongoing scholarship in their name. It serves as a reminder of their leadership and an inspiration to others in the industry,” said Scharn.

Under the program, donors commit a minimum of $15,000 to fund annual $1,500 scholarships in the honored person’s name. The scholarships are to be awarded based on general requirements set by the Trustees of the Foundation and the donors themselves.

Scharn emphasized that the program is flexible. Donors will have a variety of options for giving, including charitable annuities, endowments or annual cash gifts. “We understand every situation is different. The program is designed to be flexible,” Scharn said.

To learn more about the program, or to begin a Legacy Scholarship, email Brianne Page, or call (916) 448-3545.

About Our Legacy Scholarship Donors

Lou & Dorie Amen

A legend in the industry. That is how Louis Amen, former board chairman for Super A Foods, has been characterized by those who knew him well. Amen bought his first store in 1950 with a partner and parlayed that into a 8-store chain that later was sold. Then he started the process all over again by himself in 1971 when he began building Super A Foods, a chain of 9 stores in Los Angeles. A past CGA Chair, Amen served on the Board for many years. He was also a longtime Board member with Unified Grocers, formerly the largest cooperative in the western United States. An early riser, he was known for arriving at the office before dawn on many mornings. Lou passed away in early 2020.

Kevin & Annette Arceneaux

In his 42-year career, Kevin Arceneaux shaped the sales of several popular brands in the grocery business, from Gallo wines to Lays Potato Chips and Oreo cookies. But ask Kevin what his favorite commodity is and without hesitation he’ll say, “People”. It comes as no surprise to anyone that Kevin has a passion for giving back. He has always supported many charitable organizations the industry serves such as City of Hope, Olive Crest, as well as the California Grocers Association. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Challengers Boys & Girls Club in South L.A for more than a decade where he was born and raised. Kevin is very active at his alma mater, USC, and has served on the USC Marshall Undergraduate School Advisory Board and has mentored students in the Business School for over 16 years. Kevin retired from Mondelez International in January of 2023 and is enjoying retired life. Kevin has been married to his beautiful wife Annette for close to 40 years.

Dennis J. Belcastro/Hillshire Brands

Denny Belcastro is most recognized by his big smile and unwavering passion for serving the grocery industry. Denny has led several major CPG companies’ industry and customer collaboration initiatives. Most recently at Kimberly-Clark as Senior Vice President, Industry Affairs and Customer Development. Denny led the company’s efforts with business and industry related issues that help build sustainable enduring relationships. For more than 45 years, Denny has held leadership positions in both retail and food service business segments with Standard Brands, Nabisco, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Hillshire Brands and Kimberly-Clark. A native of Aliquippa, PA, Denny holds a bachelor’s degree in business communication from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Northwestern University Denny and his wife Marsha make their home in a Chicago suburb where they are involved in many community and service related events and non-profit organizations.

Judy & Bernard Briskin

Judy and Bernard Briskin have been exemplary philanthropists and deeply involved in the community with a passion for giving back. Whether its medical research, women’s health, underprivileged youngsters, elderly care, synagogue life or educational opportunities, the Briskins volunteered their time and resources to strengthen causes they support. Through various charitable campaigns, they have raised needed funds for medical, religious, and educational institutions. A consummate businessman, Bernie served as chairman, president, and CEO for the Arden Group Inc. where he helmed Gelson’s Markets from 1987 until his retirement in 2014. Bernie was inducted into the Hall of Achievement in 2007. He was overwhelmingly loved by his loyal employees and totally trusted by his business colleagues. Bernard, sadly, passed away in 2020. Judy turned her passion for art into a business as an accomplished interior designer and continues to be actively involved with MOCA, LACMA and other LA art institutions. Through the Judy & Bernard Briskin Family Foundation they have created and left a meaningful charitable legacy throughout our city.

Jack Brown

With a personal, hands-on style, Jack Brown led Stater Bros. Markets as executive chairman of the board. Born on Flag Day, Brown was as patriotic as they came. He began his grocery career as a 13-year-old box boy in San Bernardino. After serving with the U.S. Navy, he found his way back to the grocery industry, working for chains in Southern California, Indiana and Nebraska. In 1981, he joined Stater Bros. Markets as its top executive, and remained with the company until his passing in 2016. His legacy lives on in nearly 170 supermarkets operating throughout Southern California, delivering on his vision of fresh and affordable groceries for the community. Among his many accomplishments, he was a recipient of the Horatio Alger Award in 1992 and received the 2011 Patriot Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Chase a Dream

Most everyone has a dream, though not everyone finds the courage to chase it. For many, education is the key that unlocks their potential, building knowledge, skills, and confidence. Education helps them refine their dream and take actions to bring their vision into reality. Through financial assistance of CGAEF, I was able to achieve both educational and professional dreams. This scholarship is dedicated to those who come after, to help them achieve their goals.

Kendra & John Doyel Family

Being life-long learners, John and Kendra Doyel continue to encourage all those around them to continuously learn and grow.  Educational opportunities are so critical, while also recognizing the importance of giving back to others, and why the Doyel family is a proud supporter of the CGAEF.  Kendra began her career in the grocery industry as a pharmacist and is currently Vice President of Merchandising at Fred Meyer and serves on several community minded non-profit boards.  John is a pilot for Alaska Airlines and serves his community through mentoring programs.  Both of their children are keeping their love and respect for education and community at the forefront of their path.  The Doyel family is honored to support those in the food industry to further their educational endeavors.

Joe & Dolly Falvey

Joe Falvey has dedicated over 42 years to the grocery industry, beginning his career with E. & J. Gallo in 1982. He worked with Nalley Fine Foods and his own food brokerage company before joining Certified Grocers in 1999. Over the next 20 years, Falvey weathered several company acquisitions and now serves as President of Professional Services for SUPERVALU/UNFI. In addition to his professional responsibilities, Joe also serves as President of the Northern California City of Hope Food Industry Association and is a Board Member for WAFC. Joe was CGA Board Chair in 2015, CGAEF Vice Chair from 2011 – 2013, and was inducted into the CGAEF Hall of Achievement in 2019. Joe and wife Dolly, married 32 years, are parents to two daughters, Shauna and Brooke, and two grandchildren.

George & Debbi Frahm

George and Debbi Frahm have been married for over 48 years, so they understand what it means to make a commitment. This same type of commitment can be seen in the charitable causes they support like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the City of Hope, the Riverside City Mission or local veterans in the Inland Empire. George worked for Stater Bros. Markets for over 47 years. He began his grocery career as a nightshift janitor and afternoon clerk’s helper while attending college at CSU Los Angeles. He worked his way up through the ranks and retired as President in 2019. Education has played a significant role in George’s success over the years and that is why he and Debbi are longtime supporters of CGAEF’s educational programs.

Bernie & Ellyn Gelson

Bernard Gelson was a true visionary in the supermarket industry. As the co-founder of Gelson’s Markets, he pioneered upscale grocery shopping in Southern California in the early 1950’s, having learned the grocery business from his parents who owned a small store in Sioux City, Iowa, where he was born. Always known as “Bernie”, he treated his customers as guests in his home and his employees as family. “He was a ‘people person’” said his wife, Ellyn Gelson, “who always recognized that his employees were the company’s greatest asset.” Though he never attended college himself, Bernie constantly preached the value of higher education because he believed that a college diploma, coupled with hard work, was the key to lifelong success.

Dave & Julie Hirz

Dave and Julie Hirz value education and are proud to support the CGA Educational Foundation. Dave is former President & CEO of Smart & Final Stores. He began his career as a box boy in Cleveland, Ohio and took his first college course at age 30. He attended CSU Fullerton, completing his degree while working as a store manager for Boys Markets. He is a member of the Deans Advisory Board at CSUF. He feels fortunate to have completed the Cornell University Food Industry Program and the USC Food Management Executive Program. Julie is retired from Dow Chemical Company and enjoys volunteering at their church and the Tustin Public Schools Foundation. Dave and Julie are proud parent of three children and enjoy every minute with their two grandchildren.

John B. & Mary Lynn Kelly

Since 1969, John has been dedicated to serving the needs of corporations, associations and affluent individuals using values-based financial planning principles. An avid golfer, John is also a prolific author and is widely known as a dynamic speaker and seminar presenter. As a financial coach, John wrote The Investor’s Caddie, an adult learning tool used to help participants in over thirty 401(k) and pension plans that he manages. He and his wife Mary Lynn have long supported CGA member companies and the CGAEF’s education initiatives. As a first-generation college graduate, John greatly values the importance of education. John resides in Sacramento and has two daughters. Mary passed away in 2016.

Peter & Jody Larkin

Peter Larkin is former President and CEO of the National Grocers Association in Arlington, VA, and has a wealth of experience in government and industry relations spanning – literally – from coast to coast. Prior to joining NGA, Larkin led the California Grocers Association and the CGA Educational Foundation for 11 years, and played an important role in helping expand Foundation programs. Prior to CGA, Larkin was a vice president for the Food Marketing Institute. He and his wife Jody, were strong supporters of promoting CGA educational opportunities. The Larkins agree that “Education is key to both the success of the individual and of the country’s grocers.”

Bob & Susan Lim

Bob Lim has a simple philosophy when it comes to serving the food industry and his community: “Don’t forget your roots and give back in any way you can.” As former Vice President at Kraft Foods Group, Inc., Lim earned widespread respect as a top executive for one of the world’s largest food companies. Remembering his immigrant father’s devotion to his children’s education and success, Lim served the retail industry and his community in a myriad of ways – through classroom teaching, lecturing, and mentoring students and young professionals. He and his wife, Susan, view education as an everlasting gift.

Rob & Leah McDougall

Rob McDougall enjoyed more than 40 years in the grocery industry having begun his career as a bagger at 16 years old.  His experience includes 22 years at Vons Grocery Company, where he advanced through several management positions, and at D&W Food Centers in Michigan, where he served as COO.  In 2007, Rob returned to Southern California when he joined Gelson’s Markets, ultimately assuming the role of President in 2012 and President/CEO in 2014 until his retirement in early 2023. Rob holds a B.S. in Business Administration and an M.B.A in Global Management, both from the University of Phoenix.  Rob and Leah are parents to twin boys, Shaun and Robert. Now enjoying retirement, they reside in Grand Rapids, MI and enjoy camping, fishing, and spending time with their 12 grandchildren.

Bob Piccinini

Robert “Bob” Piccinini was the owner of Save Mart Supermarkets, a chain of 200+ Save Mart, Lucky and Food Maxx stores headquartered in Modesto. Save Mart Supermarkets was started by Bob’s father and uncle to provide their neighbors with the best of what the Central Valley had to offer. Bob started with the company as a box boy earning 50 cents an hour more than 50 years ago. In 1985, he purchased the family owned supermarket chain, becoming its chief executive officer. In 2014, Bob stepped back from day-to-day operations, but continued to play a visionary role in the company as chairman of the board. A leader with longstanding CGA ties, Bob passed away in 2015.

Ralphs/Food 4 Less

Ralphs and Food 4 Less are dedicated to our purpose: to Feed the Human Spirit ™. We are more than 27,000 associates serving customers in 305 supermarkets from headquarters in Los Angeles County. We support Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste initiative aimed at ending hunger in our communities and eliminating waste within our companies by the year 2025. Ralphs and Food 4 Less are subsidiaries of The Kroger Co., (NYSE:KR), one of the world’s largest retailers, based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Superior Foundation

Superior Foundation, the non-profit organization for Superior Grocers, one of the largest independent supermarket chains in Southern California, has been supporting local community programs for over 20 years. Having raised over $3.5 million dollars, Superior Foundation helps make a direct connection with local schools, youth programs and scholarship programs creating a positive impact in the lives and well-being of families throughout Southern California. Its focus has been to facilitate the access to a great education, by supporting efforts that enhance technology, music programs and health and wellness education programs.

Treasury Wine Estates

Treasury Wine Estates is one of the world’s leading wine companies.  Through world-class winemaking and brand marketing, everything we do is dedicated to realizing our ambition of becoming the world’s most admired premium wine company. We are proud of our portfolio of brands that have tremendous heritage, rich quality, and a reputation for excellence across the globe.  From the iconic luxury of Penfolds, Stags’ Leap, Beaulieu Vineyards, Frank Family Vineyards, and Beringer, to the broad appeal of Sterling Vineyards, Gabbiano, and newer brands like 19 Crimes, Matua, and St Huberts The Stag, we are committed to creating memorable wine experiences for our consumers.

Donna Tyndall & Mike Ketcham

Donna and Mike are a true grocery couple. They began their careers bagging groceries; Mike with National Tea in Chicago in 1966 and Donna with Gelson’s Market in Burbank in 1973. Donna has spent her entire career with Gelson’s retiring in 2022 as Senior Vice President of Operations. Upon relocating to California, Mike worked for Lucky Stores and after several mergers and consolidations, retired as General Manager of Distribution for Albertsons. Mike and Donna met at the USC Food Industry Management Program in 1988 and married in 1994. They understand the importance of continuing education and want to give back to aspiring students in the food industry.


Unified Grocers/SUPERVALU became part of UNFI in 2018. UNFI serves customers across the United States through a network of 3,324 stores composed of 3,111 wholesale primary stores operated by customers serviced by UNFI’s food distribution business and 213 traditional retail grocery stores operated under five retail banners in six geographic regions. Supporting the growth and development of employees and the communities we serve is an important part of our company culture.

Jim & Judy Van Gorkom

Jim & Judy Van Gorkom have long been strong advocates for education. Their unwavering support for the CGA Educational Foundation, the Illuminators Educational Foundation, and their own stories of ongoing learning for themselves, their families and others has been seen or heard by many. Along with serving as Chair of CGAEF for five years and as Headlite/President of The Illuminators, Jim has also served on many grocery industry board and committees including the California Grocers Association, City of Hope, Easter Seals, Olive Crest, and the NFRA. With both 40 years of marriage and grocery industry experience, Jim and Judy have had many wonderful opportunities and made many life-long friends in what Jim refers to as ‘our terrific grocery world’.

Villanueva Family

Achieving 48+ years in an industry that has embraced and encouraged Mickie to succeed and strive for levels that she never believed possible, Mickie and Mike Villanueva strongly believe in giving back to this industry in support of education to allow others to achieve their dreams and lifetime expectations.  Mickie has served on many Boards, and held officer positions with the Illuminators that culminated with being President of the Illuminators Educational Foundation for four years.  These roles have brought to light the need to support and encourage those in the industry to either pursue or continue their education. Mike is also a veteran of the grocery industry, where he and Mickie first met 35 years ago.  They recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in August 2022.  Their blended family also encourages education for themselves, their children and those less fortunate.  As a family, the Villanueva’s all believe “Doing for others, is Doing for yourself”.