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Phyllis Taylor scholarship winners announced

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 2:09 PDT, Mon May 25, 2020

The Richmond Community Foundation has awarded its 2020 Phyllis Taylor Scholarship to three students, each of whom will receive $5,000 to support their studies in the musical and performing arts. 

The first recipient, Erin Purghart, graduated from McMath Secondary, and is finishing her third year in UBC’s film and theatre program.  

“This scholarship means I can focus on what I love most—performing,” says Purghart. “It’ll allow me to concentrate on the final year of my BFA, and give my all to every opportunity and soak up everything there is to learn along the way.” 

After earning her BFA, Purghart plans to pursue a career in the arts, while remaining active in the community. 

“I hope to establish myself as a force to be reckoned with in the performing arts community—as an actor, comedian, dancer, and theatre-maker—and to continue to teach and give back to the community that gave so much to me,” says Purghart.   

The second winner is Emma Gold, who was born and raised in Richmond, and grew to love acting through her involvement with Gateway Theatre, where she’s been a student, performer, volunteer, and intern. Currently, Gold is enrolled in Langara’s Studio 58 professional theatre training program. 

Seth Kitamura, the third and final scholarship recipient, is a passionate and talented musician. He recently completed his first two semesters in the jazz studies program at Capilano University.   

“This money is going to allow me to focus on my studies and not have to worry about working extra on the side to cover my fees,” says Kitamura. “It will give me extra time to practice and fully take advantage of course materials.” 

The Phyllis Taylor Scholarship is the Community Foundation’s largest, with multiple $5,000 awards available annually. It was established by its namesake, who passed away in 2004.  

A beloved Richmond music teacher and world-class pianist, Taylor created the scholarship to support students of British, Scottish, or Irish descent who are pursuing an education in the musical or performing arts. 

“This year’s winners, while each following their own educational path, share a commitment to their craft and a passion for performance,” says Maryam Bawa, incoming Chair of the Community Foundation’s Grants Committee. “We’re sure, in the years ahead, they’ll be dazzling audiences at theatres and concert halls.” 

For more information on the Phyllis Taylor Scholarship and others offered by the Community Foundation, visit   

Founded in 1990, the Richmond Community Foundation manages nearly 50 forever funds, from which it awards grants and scholarships to local non-profit organizations and students.

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