Photo by Bert Forbes Photo by Bert Forbes Photo by Bert Forbes Photo by Bert Forbes Photo by Bert Forbes

The Alex Madonna Memorial Award Fund

In the agriculturally rich community of San Luis Obispo County, the Alex Madonna Memorial Award Fund was established to reward and encourage young people who have restored an antique tractor in the JB Dewar Tractor Restoration Competition.

Keeping in mind Alex Madonna’s many diverse endeavors -- which included farming, ranching and land development, this commemoratory award’s intent is to inspire young people to make dreams, reach for their goals, and earn the satisfaction gained from perseverance and accomplishment. While acknowledging the valuable vocational aptitude of contestants, the award also applauds the business lessons promoted through the Tractor Restoration Project. Students who participate in the project gain experience in project coordination, record keeping, expense management, time management, and teamwork.

Ethan Brown-Silva, a sophomore at Paso Robles High School and member of FFA, was named the 2015 Alex Madonna Memorial Award Fund recipient. Ethan restored a 1938 Case R tractor that had been in his family since his early childhood, bringing it back to it’s former glory. With the help of this award, Ethan hopes to pursue his dream of majoring in Ag Mechanics and minoring in Ag Business at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. 

The award is granted in memory of Alex Madonna’s enterprising spirit, common sense and a daring to create from imagination. Alex was referred to as a “self-made-man” who, after losing his father at the age of eight, continued to seek out challenges in his world. As a philanthropist, many of his good deeds were done anonymously. Alex began as a road builder and created the Madonna Inn with just a high school education. In fact, it is likely you crossed a bridge today built by Madonna Construction...a fitting metaphor for the connection Alex Madonna created between yesterday and the future.

Left: (L to R) Cathy Twisselmen, 2014 Scholarship Recipient Loren Isaac Lindsey, John Madonna 

Right: (L to R) Heidi McPherson, John Madonna, 2015 Scholarship Recipient Ethan Brown-Silva, and Angela Hollander



1. Student(s) in grades 9-12 and who are 14-19 years old
2. Resident of San Luis Obispo or northern Santa Barbara County
3. Beginning or continuing work on restoring a farm tractor as part of the JB Dewar Tractor Restoration Competition held each July/August at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles
4. Complete a written application that:

    a. Demonstrates initiative and enterprising attitude in a personal essay that describes why he/she or their team should receive the award
    b. Demonstrates an entrepreneurial spirit as reflected in the project budget
5. Completion of tractor restoration
6. Membership in the Future Farmers of America (FFA) is not a requirement

Ethan with Heidi McPherson at Mid State Fair's Cattlemen and Farmer's Luncheon

Find a Grant

Upcoming Events