Educational Foundation

Educational Foundation

CAMFT's Educational Foundation

The CAMFT Educational Foundation was formed to support and enhance the profession of marriage and family therapy. The Educational Foundation fulfills this mission by providing scholarships, grants, and other assistance to persons pursuing the profession or conducting research relevant to the practice of marriage and family therapists, and also by engaging in other programs to enhance and expand awareness of the profession.

One of the hallmarks of a life well lived is giving back to make it better than you found it. With generosity, a plot of land becomes a community garden; a dilapidated building becomes a food bank; and a mental health profession becomes more robust and diverse.


Since 1977, the CAMFT Educational Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, has awarded nearly $150,000 in scholarships and grants. Today, the need to create a more diverse mental health workforce has never been greater, and scholarships and grants help make the dream of licensure as a marriage and family therapist a reality for many.

There Are Several Ways You Can Make A Difference To the Educational Foundation:

Monetary gift: Donations by check or credit card are critically important to the CAMFT Educational Foundation, because they can immediately fund scholarships and grants. will donate a portion of your eligible purchase to the Foundation. Enjoy the same selection of products and prices on, but with the added bonus of supporting the CAMFT Educational Foundation.  Click here to shop on Amazon Smile and support the CAMFT Educational Foundation.

Bequests to the Foundation are easy to arrange.  Additionally, your bequest may be designated for a particular purpose; used to establish a new scholarship; or, given to honor you or a loved one. Learn more.

Your gift to the CAMFT Educational Foundation will allow your generosity to leave the MFT profession better than you found it!

Apply for an Educational Foundation Scholarship or Grant

Please consider making c contribution to allow the Educational Foundation to continue its legacy of awarding scholarships and grants to the next generation of marriage and family therapists! All contributions are 100% tax deductible.

CAMFT Member Donation

Non-Member Donation

2021-2022 Recipients

2021 CAMFT Foundation Scholarships and Grant Winners


LaShonda HillEducational Foundation Grant: LaShonda Hill

LaShonda Hill is a PhD candidate at Northcentral University in San Diego studying Marriage and Family Therapy, with an emphasis on military families. She is currently conducting research on military lifestyle factors and African American interpersonal relationship development and longevity. The focal point of her study is on a select minority group and the correlation of romantic relationships and military service demands. It includes demands related to deployment, prolonged separation, frequent transitions, the measure of partner knowledge, understanding of the culture, and non-traditional work schedules and if they have any effect on African American relationships. The results will provide a greater understanding of military relationships overall. Results from this study aim to provide direction for providers who are not familiar with the population for improved relational care and identifying barriers if present.


Marco YoumEducational Foundation Scholarship: Marco Youm

Marco is a queer, non-binary Korean American dedicated to bringing greater diversity into the mental health field. Throughout their life, they noticed a great need for representation and shared experiences in different roles and spaces. This gap in diversity only became more apparent when they came to understand their own queer identity. Marco’s desire to fill this void launched them onto their current path of becoming a therapist. They spent three years working for the nonprofit organization, Seneca Family of Agencies as a classroom counselor as well as a Cultural Proficiency Trainer, focused on facilitating the “Unconditional Pride: Creating Affirming Spaces for Queer and Trans Youth” training for their fellow staff. Nowadays, Marco is a graduate student in the Marriage and Family Therapy program at CSU East Bay and is a trainee at Discovery Counseling Center (DCC) in Danville, California. As a trainee at DCC, they work with elementary school students and their families.



Melissa RissoClinton E. Phillips Scholarship: Melissa Risso

Over the previous fifteen years, Melissa has dedicated her life to working in domestic violence shelters, drug and rehabilitation centers, countless schools across the state of California, teaching in counseling psychology programs, writing for therapy websites and blogs, and most recently, speaking about a variety of mental and sexual health topics. She is completing her final year in her Human Sexuality Ph.D. program. Because several colleagues have expressed limited education in sexual health topics, Melissa is actively crafting presentations and material to best support therapists and mental health experts on a variety of sexual health topics, including how to support couples with desire discrepancies, information on consensual nonmonogamy, creating intimacy during COVID-19, discussing tools to help therapists work with clients with sexual traumas and more. For over the last five and a half years, Melissa has balanced working two to three jobs while putting herself through her Ph.D. program.


LaaRaee BratcherRonald D. Lunceford Scholarship: LaRae Bratcher

LaRae is a 43-year-old Black woman, a single mother of two daughters, and is finishing her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Brandman University in Fairfield. She also is currently doing two internships simultaneously: one at the Hope for Healthy Families and the Solano Superior Court where she is the Veterans Treatment Court Case Manager. There, LaRae works with criminal justice-involved Veterans who suffer from co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders that stem from their time in service. This program addresses Veterans’ behavior, health, and criminogenic thinking, thus reducing recidivism, increasing safety and improving Veterans’ health and life outcomes. Her work experience has given her the pleasure of working with many diverse populations, including people of color, LGBTQ+, those incarcerated, people with profound childhood trauma, children, and Veterans. She plans to continue working with the underserved people in these populations after completing her MFT.



2021 CAMFT Honors and Awards Winners


Sonnee D. WeednVincent Clark Award: Sonnee D. Weedn, Ph.D


Sonnee D. Weedn, Ph.D was nominated by eight CAMFT members for creating the workbook, "8 Ways to Wellbeing for Recovering People" which codifies the research of Roger Walsh, M.D., Ph.D. in the use of Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLCs) in optimizing mental health. This workbook is already used as core curriculum in a number of treatment facilities in CA and in other states. It has received three literary awards in national contests, including a First Place from Indie Book Awards, Second Place with Nautulus Book Awards and Third place at Independent Publisher Book Awards.





Bay Area Psychotherapy Institute 

Outstanding School or Agency: Bay Area Psychotherapy Training Institute (BAPTI)

The Bay Area Psychotherapy Training Institute (BAPTI) was nominated for their excellent mission and work towards providing high quality mental health services to local communities. Founded over 25 years ago, BAPTI offers high quality psychotherapy for adults, children, couples, families & groups. Their therapists address issues as diverse as trauma, career issues, acculturation, divorce and gender identity. BAPTI also provides continuing education classes and workshops for the local psychotherapy community on a variety of elective and required courses to further develop professional expertise. The BAPTI Mental Health Equity Fund (MHEF) was established in 2018 to allow therapists to provide subsidized services to low-income clients who would otherwise not be able to afford high-quality psychotherapy services. BAPTI provides various opportunities for associate level therapists to continue to work for and to contribute to this organization after licensure. 

Rachel WalkerMary Riemersma Distinguished Clinical Member Award: Rachel Walker, LMFT

Rachel, a Bay Area Therapist, teaches, consults, and provides mentorship in the treatment of trauma and dissociation at Community Colleges, small non-profits, and the mental health community at large. She has created an in-depth trauma training for therapists called, 'At the Crossroads of Trauma Therapy', which integrates theories and interventions from many of today’s most effective trauma models: EMDR, Structural Dissociation, Parts Work and Attachment Theory. Rachel is also the founder of the online platform, which provides simple, hands-on tools for improving trauma treatment and promoting the self-healing process. She has created numerous tools for therapists and clients alike, including the Trauma Recovery Guidebook for Therapists and the Trauma Recovery Handbook for Survivors (in English and Spanish). Rachel’s professional mission is to help everyone recognize and demystify trauma. She does this by providing concrete information, tools, and simple maps that make the treatment process clearer and more effective. Understanding the symptoms and legacy of trauma in practical terms creates a potent sense of orientation, common purpose, and empowerment for both client and therapist. This in turn sets the stage for genuine collaboration and effective teamwork, essential components for any successful trauma treatment. Rachel’s books, tools, and trainings are infused with simple every-day language, step-by-step guidance, and hope!