Over 300 applications. Over 50 volunteers. Hundreds of hours of reading, scoring, discussing, scoring again, and wishing there was more money to go around. It’s Scholarship Season at the Foundation. With the recent addition of the Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program, the Foundation now manages over 60 scholarship funds and this year will award over $400,000 to deserving students in our service area. I have the distinct pleasure of getting to know many amazing 17 and 18 year olds on paper and a few, a bit more closely. One of the things I enjoy most about working on these programs is when I hear from past recipients like these two amazing young people:
Jerome Smalls, rising sophomore at Georgetown University and General Scholarship Award recipient in 2015, recently sent me this email. The exclamation points alone made me smile big – he is not about to miss out on anything on his collegiate journey!
“By the way, my freshman year has been great! I’ve been able to travel to a lot of my friends’ home towns; including Philly, L.A., Miami and New York! On top of that, being in DC has allowed me to attend some pretty cool events throughout the city. Last semester, thanks to Senator Tim Scott, I was able to see President Obama speak at the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment! I also went to my first NBA game, I’ve been eating some great food, and loving this year’s Cherry Blossom Festivals!
And that’s just off campus! On campus, I’m the freshman representative for the Black Student Alliance, I’m the vice chair for the Student Government’s Entrepreneurship Policy Team, I tutor court-involved youth from the DC area, I’m in the Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community, along with a few other things. But what I’m most excited about is the organization that I’ll be starting next year. It’s called the Male Development Association (MDA) and we’ll be going to at-risk schools in South East DC to mentor the young men at these high schools. Our goal is to help develop these boys into young men as part of our “Mission 2 Manhood”.
This summer I will be traveling abroad for the first time. I’ll be studying Global Entrepreneurship and International Marketing in Barcelona for 5 weeks! It’s a program Georgetown runs in partnership with one of the best business schools in Spain. After Barcelona, I’ll be traveling back to DC to work on campus at the Summer School office as the Student Program Manager!”
Abigail Clauhs, recipient of The Rufus C. Barkley, Jr. Leadership in 2010-2014, “hopes to pursue ordination as a Unitarian Universalist community minister and do urban ministry, empowering marginalized communities through spiritually grounded work.” With her determination, compassion, and intellect, she is well on her way!
“I am currently a student at Claremont School of Theology in Southern California, where I am pursuing a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Interfaith Chaplaincy. I completed my B.A. in Religion and English at Boston University in May 2014. At BU, I was very involved with interfaith activism, leading the Boston University Interfaith Council, coordinating discussions and interfaith service events among many Boston-area colleges, and more. I was also involved in social justice initiatives on issues including hunger, homelessness, and immigration.
I am so grateful to the Barkley scholarship and the Barkley family for making it possible for me to make this journey. I have been financially independent from my parents since the age of 18. I would never have been able to go to Boston University without this scholarship; this award, along with a merit scholarship from BU, I was able to graduate from college debt-free.
In college I was able to explore many different paths and opportunities–including working for Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs and co-founding the Boston Interfaith Campus Coalition. Now in graduate school, without the stress of undergraduate debt, I can continue to engage in activism work and embark on a career path that–while not the most financially lucrative–is rewarding in so many other meaningful, unquantifiable ways.” (Hear more from Abigail @ abigailclauhs.com)
Looking for a solid investment? How about a Coastal Community Foundation scholar? As Benjamin Franklin wisely surmised: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”