March 16, 2020
It’s a step toward a goal of growing the endowment to about $150,000 so it can be self-sustaining and so the scholarship program can continue for decades. When Elizabeth-Burton Jones started college in 2008, she remembers having “sticker shock” at the college bookstore register. But thankfully, she was able to use a scholarship from the Greater Canton Martin Luther King Jr. Commission to pay for some of her books her freshman year. “I will always appreciate the scholarship for making my transition from high school to college much smoother,” she said,
The Greater Canton Martin Luther King Jr. Commission this year nearly doubled its scholarship endowment, raising its fund to $62,000 for its Gene DeChellis college scholarship program. It’s a step toward a goal of growing the endowment to about $150,000 so it can be self-sustaining and so the scholarship program can continue for decades. In the meantime, commissioners are considering expanding the scholarship, either by increasing the amount awarded to students or increasing the number of students who receive aid. Leonard Stevens, vice-chair of the Commission, quoted King when talking about the scholarship push, saying “the function of education is to teach one to think intensively and think critically.” “We at the commission value education, and we’re putting our money where our mouth is,” Stevens said. The scholarship started as a $1,000 award for three students and now is a $1,500 award for seven students.
Recipients are announced at the commission’s annual breakfast, which is its largest fundraiser for the scholarship endowment. The number of sponsors jumped this year—including the addition of Employers Health as a title sponsor—which is part of the reason the Commission was able to put $28,000 into the endowment this year.
Tammy Williams, who was one of this year’s scholarship recipients, is a nontraditional student who works full-time. She attends Stark State College but will enroll at Malone University to complete three more semesters of classes so she can earn a degree in social work.
She said the scholarship will allow her to move forward to finish her education without “sweating bullets” about costs. “(The) $1,500 to some people may not be a lot of money, but when time is of the essence and money as well, this has certainly been a blessing that I can’t even express my gratitude,” she said.
Alison Matas, Canton Repository
Posted March 15, 2020 at 6:30 a.m.