Donors Work to Expand Opportunities for Educational Aid Through New Awards, Initiatives
WATERTOWN — The Northern New York Community Foundation, in partnership with private donors, 33 public school districts and two private schools, has awarded scholarships to 531 students from Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties that will help them pursue post-secondary educational goals.
Thanks to the generosity of hundreds of donors who continue to make gifts that support Community Foundation scholarships, opportunities for students this year have grown through the establishment of new awards and partnerships. Awards to 531 students in the three counties total more than $900,000. In the past year, donors created 28 new scholarships at the Community Foundation. Another three scholarships were transferred to the Foundation from donors and partnering school districts to administer on their behalf.
“Community Foundation donors consistently express their belief in the value of education for both our region and society. We are seeing an increase in interest to diversify how we support students, including greater emphasis on technical and trade programs and supporting students who may not otherwise receive assistance from other sources,” said Rande S. Richardson, Community Foundation executive director. “We are also humbled that many have chosen to honor friends and loved ones in ways that perpetuate their impact on the lives of local students and a better future.”
In Jefferson County, 261 students from 11 public and one private school, as well as one home-schooled student, received Community Foundation awards. In Lewis County, 139 students from five public schools were awarded scholarships, and in St. Lawrence County, 121 students from 17 public schools and one private school received awards.
An additional 25 students from schools located outside the three counties were awarded scholarships administered through the Northern New York Community Foundation. In most cases, these awards were established by local donors who maintain strong ties to specific out-of-area schools.
Nine scholarships were also awarded to nontraditional students who may be returning to post-secondary studies after a break from school or who are older adults, pursuing college, vocational, or technical education for the first time. Through its partnerships with the 10th Mountain Division Association and the Watertown Rotary Club’s Purple Heart Scholarship program, the Community Foundation facilitated 24 scholarships to students with ties to the U.S. military. The Foundation also administers the Herring College Memorial Fund, which provides freshman scholarships for students pursuing studies in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and related fields. In 2014, the Thousand Islands Foundation became a component fund of the Community Foundation, which now helps to administer scholarships awarded to graduates of Alexandria, LaFargeville, Lyme and Thousand Islands high schools on its behalf.
Additionally, the Community Foundation administers the Jefferson-Can Community Scholars Program in partnership with the Jefferson Community College Foundation and alumnus Stephen Can. The Jefferson-Can Community Scholars Program awards Jefferson and Lewis County high school seniors who are in the top 15 percent of their graduating class a merit-based scholarship for the first two semesters of study at Jefferson Community College.
The Northern New York Community Foundation awards hundreds of scholarships annually and, in many cases, students may receive more than one award from the Community Foundation. All scholarships are made possible through the philanthropic spirit of groups and individuals from across Northern New York.
Scholarships are popular choices for many as a preferred method of charitable giving and are as varied as the individuals and groups that create them. Criteria for many scholarships the Community Foundation stewards include geography, major of study, college or university attended, student achievements and much more. Several scholarships may also serve as a tribute to loved ones. Most important, each scholarship is a gift that supports the education of local students, helping them to pursue their academic goals.
The Community Foundation also partners with 11 public and two private school districts to steward educational foundations and general endowment funds. In recent years, many donors have expressed interest in supporting their favorite local school in broad or more directed ways, for things other than scholarships. Through school educational foundations, alumni, parents, teachers, retirees and others for whom their school holds special meaning can leave a legacy.
A complete list of available scholarships and the applications for them may be found at nnycf.org/scholarships. The following students, listed by county, school district and type, were awarded a 2020-2021 scholarship:
St. Lawrence County
Outside tri-county area
10th Mountain Division (Light) Scholarship Fund