by Gina Frazier, iWill Mentorship
The youth’s eyes glistened with tears as he passed me in the hallway. Fearing the worst, I hesitantly asked “how’d it go?” He smiled ear to ear and excitedly yelled “I got it! … I will be going to college!!”
He had arrived late to the Youth Scholarship Summit that we were holding in the Dunbar community of Fort Myers. The presentation had already begun as he sat down in the empty chair next to me at the back of the room. “Am I too late?”, he glanced at me with a worried look on his face. “I had to go home and get my drums!” I noticed the white shirt he was wearing was a bit too large and had a small tear in the cuff, but it was clean and pressed free of wrinkles; and his shoes, a bit worn in the soles, had been buffed to a shiny black hue. I smiled and whispered back “Nope, you’re ok.” As the speaker continued, we talked softly, making sure that his registration was in order for the music scholarship auditions that were coming up next.
Over $300,000 in tentative scholarships were awarded that day, pending grade and other verifications, at an event that had been thrown together in just a few weeks. It was an event that evolved from what I call “trickle down,” an unexpected benefit derived as result of a grant IWMF received from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation for our Game Changer Program. Game Changer is a 5 phased college preparedness program for at-risk youth; phase 3 involved taking the youth on college tours over spring break. One of the colleges was so impressed with the youth that they came down to conduct scholarship auditions … just one of several trickle-downs that resulted from this grant.
While the direct impact of this grant has been tremendous, sometimes the trickle-down goes far beyond what could have been imagined, or sometimes even reported as an outcome. We are working on the reporting process of what is measurable versus what is not, and do not want to ignore this “after effect.” So to all of you who who keep our programs going, thank you! The impact of your generosity is far greater than you and sometimes even we know!
If you’d like more information about I Will Mentorship, check out our website at www.iwmf2.org.
This summer, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is spotlighting the nonprofit organizations funded through the 2016 competitive grant cycle. We have asked our 2016 grantees to send us their stories. The Foundation is pleased to partner with these change-makers.
About the Southwest Florida 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.