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Scholarship America In The News
Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund Recipients Featured in New York Times
Within a week of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, education-focused nonprofits began raising money for the families who were affected. Those efforts resulted in the establishment of the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund -- a fund administered by Scholarship America, and established to ensure college access for financially needy dependents of those killed or disabled on 9/11 and in subsequent rescue efforts.
This fall, the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund reached a remarkable milestone: it has now awarded $104 million to those dependents, helping close to 2,600 husbands, wives, sons and daughters achieve their college dreams in the wake of the tragedy. In observation of the anniversary of 9/11, the New York Times highlighted the work of the Fund in a feature article. Among the featured scholarship recipients was Sean Booker, Jr., who had just started kindergarten when his father, a Xerox technician working on the 93rd floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower, passed away in the attacks.
“Childhood memories are hazy, the younger Mr. Booker said, but a few details stand out. ‘I used to play drums at my church where my dad was a pastor,’ he said. ‘He took me to the park and I used to have breakfast with him.’
“Of the 3,051 children who lost a parent in the Sept. 11 attacks, about 300 were kindergartners that day. Many of them are now taking their first classes in college, and about 100 of them, including Mr. Booker, will begin their higher education with full scholarships from the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund … Mr. Booker, now 18, attends Pace University in Lower Manhattan, within view of 1 World Trade Center.
“On move-in day, he said, ‘my whole family came with me.’”
Scholarship America Contributes To Wall Street Journal Overview of Scholarships
A recent, in-depth Wall Street Journal piece, entitled "How To Win the College Scholarship Game," discussed a number of topics around merit- and need-based financial aid, as well as institutional and private scholarships. Staff from Scholarship America provided statistics, examples and expertise, and our own Max Espinoza was quoted several times. From the article:
"But outside organizations have ramped up merit aid faster, awarding $6.2 billion in such scholarship assistance in 2011-12, up 130% from four years prior, according to Edvisors.com. (That total doesn't include money provided by employers to workers and their children, which hasn't risen as sharply and can be based to some degree on financial need.)
"'Private scholarship aid is going up, and it highlights the importance of the private sector in filling gaps that have been created in the overall college-financing universe,' says Max Espinoza, a senior vice president at Scholarship America, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that helps corporations, foundations and other groups manage scholarship programs."
Scholarship America surprised its first group of 12 Dream Award recipients on Katie Couric’s daytime talk show, Katie. The Dream Award is Scholarship America’s renewable scholarship program for financially needy students who have overcome barriers and have successfully started their college education.
Designed to help students complete college with less debt, the Dream Award was started with an initial donation of proceeds from Katie Couric's book, The Best Advice I Ever Got. Watch the video clips above to meet the finalists -- and see the surprise scholarship announcement.
Scholarship America supporter Katie Couric featured our founder, Dr. Irving Fradkin, on her nationwide daytime talk show, Katie! In addition to a video profile and in-studio interview, the show provided Dr. Fradkin a surprise: scholarship recipients from 1961 to the present came out to thank him for his life's work.
Katie and Dr. Fradkin also spoke with Hannah Truong, our 2013 Dollars for Scholars Student Volunteer of the Year, and Katie announced the opening of the Scholarship America Dream Award. This scholarship, which she supports through proceeds from her book The Best Advice I Ever Got, provides funding for students after their freshman year of college, when financial aid is often all too hard to come by. Learn more about the Dream Award here, and visit katiecouric.com for more with Hannah and Dr. Fradkin!
"Itron was honored to collaborate with Scholarship America and the American Gas Association (AGA) to bring the Harley Davidson Fundraiser to the AGA Conference & Exhibition. More than $35,000 was raised for Scholarship America in the form of raffle ticket donations and a $5,000 gift from AGA at this year’s show.
"AGA attendee Danny MacDonald was the lucky winner of the 110th Anniversary Limited Edition Fat Boy Lo Harley Davidson Motorcycle, which was drawn and announced in front of a large crowd on the exhibit floor the final day of the show.
"Funds raised will be targeted toward STEM-specific scholarships and will fund a multi-year, performance-based scholarship, beginning the 2014-15 school year."
Scholarship America is proud to manage the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation's Broad Prize, which is awarded annually to an exceptional school district for the purpose of scholarship funding. 2013's award of $160,000 went to California's Corona-Norco Unified School District—and the district students who won scholarships from the fund learned about their awards in a surprise ceremony. PE.com has more:
"Eight high school seniors in the Corona-Norco Unified School District got the surprise of their lives Wednesday, May 15, when each won a $20,000 college scholarship.
"The $160,000 in scholarships resulted from the district’s finish as a 2012 Broad Prize finalist by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, a national education philanthropy.
"The students, unaware of what was to come, had been invited to attend a tour of Home Gardens Academy and later a news conference with Broad Foundation representatives and district officials. The students thought they would be part of a student focus group session afterwards."
Watch the video above to meet some of the student recipients, and check out the full article for much more on this unique scholarship collaboration!
Scholarship America founder Dr. Irving Fradkin has been a tireless volunteer for our organization for 55 years. On his 92nd birthday, he decided it was time to retire; along with Scholarship America president Lauren Segal, U.S. Representative Joe Kennedy and a host of others, the Fall River Herald was there for the ceremony:
"Local optometrist Irving Fradkin believed so strongly in making sure young people had access to a college education that he once made a collect call — which actually connected — to then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower to engage him on the subject.
"That was in the 1950s, and Fradkin’s belief was not universally held. Back then, there were no Pell Grants, no community colleges and few other forms student aid to help young people pay for college ... But Fradkin refused to believe that was how it should be. He believed in America and democracy — but also believed that true democracy would not last if young people could not all be educated.
"So, in 1958 ... [h]e founded a program called Dollars for Scholars, challenging those in his community to give at least one dollar toward sending Fall River youth to college. The program has gone nationwide since — over the last 55 years, the program raised more than $3 billion and has helped send 1.9 million youth to college. It’s now called Scholarship America and has chapters in about 1,100 communities nationwide."
For older stories, visit the News Archive.
The Dream Award
Scholarship America’s Dream Award is a renewable scholarship fund targeted toward completion. These annually-increasing awards will be given to students selected from across the nation who are entering their second year of education beyond high school.
The Scholarship Coach
Scholarship America's blog, The Scholarship Coach, appears weekly at USNews.com, featuring expert advice on all kinds of scholarship issues. Here on the site, we feature a new highlight from the blog every week, and you can also download a free Scholarship Coach e-book!
Focus On The Finish Line
Scholarship America is dedicated to helping students get their degrees. Our 2013 Annual Report, Focus on the Finish Line, features statistics, stories, and student accounts of the importance of college completion.
Visit the online report to learn more and hear from our President, Lauren Segal.