When I saw the young woman run off the soccer field, grab her phone and find a quiet hiding spot I knew exactly what was going on. I didn’t know the girl or her family but over the course of a soccer match I had gathered enough overheard intel to realize she was waiting to hear if she had been accepted to her dream college.
It was senior night for this varsity team and during the presentation of players the announcer indicated she was waiting for big news. For the rest of the match I wondered how she was keeping her mind on the game. Was it a good distraction keeping her from rushing for her phone or was it pure torture being trapped on the field.
It seemed like the last 30 minutes on the pitch dragged on and on and I was just a casual observer. This time of year high school seniors who opted for early decision on their post secondary are constantly checking their emails. I guess the days of running to the mailbox to look for the fat letter that meant you were in or the skinny letter that meant the news was not so good have been replaced with running for the smart phone to check the status of an application. The schools even let you know when they will share the news.
The anxious soccer player knew that she would get her news the minute she checked her phone after the game.
Other local students are wrapping up applications, taking last minute admissions tests, and preparing to fill out the all important federal student financial aid applications that may be the key to financing their post secondary dreams. Getting into college is just one part of the equation, paying for it is equally critical. Students realize that student loan debt can cripple them upon graduation and are looking for grants and scholarships to offset the cost of an education.
At the Southwest Florida Community Foundation we have the great honor of administering nearly 100 scholarships that have been established by donors over the last 40 years who want to help students access college. In the early days of college admissions a one-time award that helped high school seniors get their start was the scholarship of choice. Now donors are becoming aware that getting in college is just step one, but helping a student finish is really what they have in mind when they establish a scholarship fund.
Most donors establish scholarships to assist a student in realizing a career, not just a freshman year. Recently we have seen donors become more creative and mindful with their funds. They are creating vehicles that allow one student to receive multi year awards, assist those who want to attend technical college and need funding for tools or equipment and good Samaritan funds that assist students with issues that can knock them out of college like a broken down car or no access to food.
The Foundation also keeps up with the students so we can share both success and challenges they are facing with the donor. Ultimately we want the dream-maker donors to know that their gifts made the difference in a student’s life.
As the stands emptied I kept my eye on the player running for her phone. I was on the edge of my seat until I saw here lift her head from her phone and shout, “I got in!” Dream realized.
If you would like to learn how you can help students realize their dreams I would love to hear from you at [email protected].
Thanks to our generous donors contributing to over 70 Scholarship Funds at the Foundation we are able to provide students in Southwest Florida the opportunity to apply for College Scholarships. We awarded 98 individual College Scholarships in 2015 to both high school graduates and undergraduate college students resulting in over $500,000 in financial support to individuals. For information on scholarships available, visit www.floridacommunity.com/scholarships
About the SWFL Community Foundation
As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation, founded in 1976, connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $93 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $63 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, it granted more than $3.2 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services, as well as provided regional community impact grants and scholarship grants. Want to be part? It all starts with a conversation. Please call (239) 274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com.