- This year has been the most successful in your 36-year history with scholarship commitments of over $1.1 million dollars to 88 very deserving local scholars, how did your organization achieve this?
The George Snow Scholarship Fund is blessed to have hundreds of supporters, volunteers and donors who share the common belief that education is the key to a better life, a better community, and a better country.
One of the reasons, I believe, we have such a broad base of support in our community is that our donors appreciate our holistic approach to helping our students. Of course, we provide our scholars with financial support but beyond that we have an array of Scholar Support Services designed to enhance and maximize our Scholar’s college experience. Basically, we do for our Scholars what we would all do for our own sons and daughters. They truly become part of our family. This approach to scholarships is also why we were named as the National Scholarship Provider of the Year in 2015 by the National Scholarship Providers Association. This distinction places us in the company of national organizations like the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.
- The George Snow Scholarship Fund also surpassed the $10 million-dollar mark in scholarship donations this year, can you explain the difference you’ve made in the lives of so many in South Florida?
I can answer that question by citing an example:
Recently I received a contribution from one of our alumni in the mail. Enclosed in the envelope with the check was a photograph of our Scholar’s husband and three children. Our Scholar came to us in 1998 from a severely economically disadvantaged family in South Palm Beach County. She excelled academically but did not have the funds to attend college. We were able to provide her with a scholarship to attend the University of South Florida. Fast forward 20 years and our Scholar is now a medical doctor enjoying all the benefits her education has afforded her. When I saw the picture of our Scholar with her children I realized that those beautiful children will not have to deal with the hardships that our Scholar endured growing up. They will have all the advantages the rest of us had and I am confident this family’s destiny has been changed for generations to come all thanks to the education of one person.
Multiply this by the over 1,800 students we have been able to help attend college since our creation in 1982 and it is easy to see the tremendous impact that just a little financial help and encouragement can have on our society.
- So often the perception of young adults is that they are lazy and don’t care, but you see the opposite with many numbers of kids working so hard to better their lives. What are these kids like that apply?
In a word they are amazing. All of us would be proud to call them our own sons and daughters. One of the great joys of our work at the Scholarship Fund is getting to know our Scholars as they go through our selection and interview process.
These young people are quite a group of achievers. They are valedictorians and salutatorians, state champions, team captains and class presidents. But what makes our scholars so special is that many of them have done all this while dealing with circumstances that would make most of us throw up our arms and surrender. These same valedictorians, team captains and class presidents; are orphans, caregivers, survivors of serious illnesses and victims of circumstances that they have no control over. Our young people have not surrendered, they have not used their situation as an excuse for failure, far from it, they have risen to the top of their peer group. Their adversity has made them stronger and they are better people for the struggles they have endured.
If we can educate and nurture these individuals the future of our country will be bright.
- What’s next for the George Snow Scholarship Fund?
We are currently gearing up for the 11th annual Boca Ballroom Battle on September 14th at the Boca Raton Resort. This “Dancing with the Stars” inspired event showcases eight community leaders that get paired with dance pros. It’s a tremendous night, an incredible party and a major fundraiser for us.
- How do people learn more about applying for a scholarship and supporting the George Snow Scholarship Fund?
The George Snow Scholarship Fund offers a wide variety of scholarships, each with its own criteria. They are available for any student living and attending high school in Palm Beach County. Applications and more exciting details on our organization are accessed through our website at www.scholarship.org or a call to 561-347-6799.