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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Mazda Foundation is pleased to announce the eight recipients of the Mazda scholarships to the 2012 Youth For Understanding (YFU) international high school exchange program in Japan. The scholarship winners will spend six weeks this summer living with host families near Mazda's worldwide headquarters in Hiroshima.  

The following sons and daughters of MNAO and Mazda Dealer employees received scholarships:

Nicholas Houghland


Fairfax, Virginia

Martin Ramon

Freeman Mazda

Irving, Texas


Daniel Kaplan


Orange, California

Jesse Portillo

Mazda of Alhambra

Alhambra, California

Sierra Keech

North Point Mazda

Cabot, Arkansas













In addition, three national winners received scholarships:

Jaime Garcia

Ludington, Michigan

Sarah Kodama

Lakewood, Washington

Maya Gentry

Reston, Virginia










Since 1984, The Mazda Foundation has funded Youth for Understanding (YFU) in order to promote cross-cultural understanding between America and Japan. The YFU scholarship from the Mazda Foundation, which is valued at $9,025.00, provides round-trip domestic and international air travel, placement with a specially selected host family in Japan for six weeks, a pre-departure orientation and support services provided by YFU in Japan and the U.S.

This year's select group of students will join the more than 225,000 young people who have participated in an exchange program with YFU. 

The program begins at the University of California, Berkeley, with a three-day pre-departure orientation, which emphasizes Japanese language, culture and etiquette. Students then fly to Japan, where they learn about Japanese culture by living with Japanese host families, participating in local activities, visiting schools and one-on-one interaction with their host families. The students' Japan experience will culminate with a visit to Mazda's Headquarters in Hiroshima where they will have the opportunity to meet with Mazda Motor Corporation President and CEO Takashi Yamanouchi as well as Mazda engineers and designers.

The Mazda Foundation is proud to be able to provide this truly unique opportunity to such a diverse group of high school students.



About the Mazda Foundation (USA) Inc.

Acting on a strong sense of responsibility to give something back to the communities in which it operates, Mazda established a philanthropic foundation. As the corporate foundation of Mazda North American Operations, it has awarded over $7 million to worthwhile causes across the United States since its initial grants in 1992.


Manager, Public Affairs
Tamara Mlynarczyk

tmlynarc@mazdausa.comOffice Phone:
(202) 467-5092Fax:
(202) 223-6490Mobile: Mazda North American Operations
1025 Connecticut Ave., NW
Suite 910
Washington, D.C., 20036


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