The Women Leaders Forum will hand out $40,000 in scholarships to “the best and brightest” students enrolled in its mentoring program during an annual luncheon on Thursday at Hyatt Indian Wells. Since 2001 the organization, founded by former Indian Wells Councilwoman Mary Roche to empower women and provide mentorship, has awarded more than $350,000 in college scholarships. This year’s scholarships were possible through a $17,500 matching grant from Pathways to Success and a $5,000 donation from philanthropist Peggy Cravens. WLF president Deborah Tryon said she was grateful for the donations that made the scholarships possible. “A college education is an expensive proposition these days and WLF is proud we can assist these hard working students meet their goals,” she said in a prepared statement. The luncheon’s keynote speaker is Fern Rudd, in charge of the Partners in Education Program at Palm Springs High School. Rudd was also a recipient of the Women Leaders Forum Helene Galen Excellence in Education Award at the Women Who Rule luncheon earlier this year. The scholarship luncheon is open to members, and anyone interested in learning more about the organization. Cost is $35.