This marks a record year in scholarship and awards giving for the Foundation, coming at a time when student debt has increased anywhere from 50% to 300% at North Carolina colleges and universities in the past 16 years1.
The Foundation houses 46 scholarship and awards funds, established by generous donors in the region over the last 34 years. These funds are created by donors who are passionate about supporting individual student’s growth through educational opportunities or by recognition of success in a particular discipline. These donors recommend an academic focus for the scholarship fund, as well as eligibility criteria, and often work in committees to choose recipients each year. Since 20082, the Foundation has granted $6.2 million in scholarships and awards to more than 1,280 local students.
“In our current economy, post-secondary education is vitally important to ensure students in our community have access to meaningful, living wage employment,” said Sarah Battersby, Donor Services and Scholarship Officer. “Numbers are only part of the story. The students behind each of these scholarships are the reason we work so hard with our donors to offer these funds and the opportunities they provide. I look forward to continuing to think strategically about working towards a future where all students in our community can afford to pursue the educational option that suits their future goals.”
Students like Beth Harrington, a single adolescent mother, who was able to attend two years at Durham Technical Community College and transfer to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with zero debt because of the de Grange Scholarship that she received from the Foundation, and is now a successful social worker.
And Daniel Flores, an immigrant from El Salvador who learned how to speak English during his teenage years, and thanks to a four-year Felicia Brewer Opportunity Scholarship from the Foundation, is majoring in finance and banking at Appalachian State University.
And the two students at Meredith College, one of which is in preparations to attend medical school, and the other majoring in environmental science, in part thanks to Achievement Scholarships for Refugees and Immigrants of Wake County through the Foundation.
Triangle Community Foundation works to ensure that everyone in the community has access to the opportunity they need to succeed. By collaborating with their donors to provide scholarships to students locally who, many times otherwise would not have access to higher education, they are working together to build a thriving Triangle for generations to come.
1 Triangle Business Journal “Can we sustain this runaway student debt in NC?” Aug. 5 2016
2 Prior to 2009 and the Pension Protection Act, documentation of scholarship grants was not required.