Sandra Davis had been laid off and was out of work.
A Medallion Fund scholarship helped her attend a “boot camp” program to become a CNC machinist. She had a job lined up before the 10-week program was through.
Alexandra Lominy wanted to be a nurse from the time she was a little kid. Medallion Fund scholarships covered the cost of her LNA license so she could start working, and then helped her through a two-year program to become a registered nurse. She has her dream job now, as a labor-and-delivery nurse.
Hysen Bregu is on his way to getting his Master plumber’s license with help from the Medallion Fund. The former cook says “It’s a great trade. I can support my family much better.”
Medallion Fund scholarships helped Musiliu and Oluwatobi Ogunbayo, a husband and wife, achieve their American dream of becoming licensed practical nurses. Now, Musiliu said, “we can see a brighter future.”
Since 1996, the Medallion family of scholarship funds at the Charitable Foundation has helped more than 800 students get education and training to be able to enter high-demand fields in New Hampshire. More than $1.2 million has been awarded in Medallion scholarships.
The Medallion Fund scholarships are unique in that they are geared to learners who are training in the trades, or pursuing certifications in emerging technical sectors and other high-growth occupations in demand by New Hampshire employers. They help cover costs for certificates, licensing, apprenticeships and two-year college degrees.
The scholarships that have transformed so many lives were launched by one generous New Hampshire couple who saw a need and decided to give resources of their own to help fill it.
Dick and Lorraine Lavalliere started the first Medallion Fund two decades ago. Since then, 23 more Medallion Funds have been added by generous businesses and individuals. The funds are administered by the Foundation, which awards about 120 Medallion scholarships each year.
“Imagine how many people we put to work?” Dick Lavalliere says.
The Lavallieres, both Manchester natives who until recently ran Northeastern Sheet Metal, have recently redoubled those efforts: they have opened eight new Medallion Funds at the Foundation – named for people to whom they wanted to pay tribute for help with the efforts over the years – and put up an additional $500,000 in matching funds to encourage others to pitch in. They will make a 50 percent match to any gifts that create new Medallion Funds or contribute to existing ones. If their funds are matched, an additional $1.5 million will be added to the scholarship pool.
“There is super-great need,” for smart, well-trained people, Dick Lavalliere said. “I see it in my business every day. We are looking for talent. You need good foremen. You’ve got to have somebody with a head on his shoulders.”
Through its New Hampshire Tomorrow plan, the Foundation is working to increase opportunities for young people in New Hampshire from cradle to career. One of the newest Medallion Funds, the Medallion Fund for New Hampshire Tomorrow, will provide scholarships and support coordinated efforts between high schools, technical programs, community colleges and New Hampshire employers to create pathways to high-demand sectors like computer programming, IT and advanced manufacturing.
The state’s workforce is aging, employers are already having trouble filling jobs, and the state is projected to face a decrease in the working-age population while jobs are projected to increase.
“We must have skilled, trained workers throughout all sectors of our economy,” said Foundation president and CEO Richard Ober. “The Medallion Funds are helping so many people transition from just getting by to thriving in high-demand professions, and now they are positioned to help even more New Hampshire students succeed in great jobs right here in New Hampshire.”
Medallion Family of Scholarship Funds
All Metal Industries, Inc. Medallion Fund
Armand Lemire Medallion Scholarship Fund
Cogswell Benevolent Trust Medallion Fund
Cote Family Medallion Fund
Dianne and John Mercier Family Medallion Fund
Eugene Manfredi Medallion Fund
Glenn Burrows Memorial Medallion Fund
Goffstown Rotary Club/Northeastern Sheetmetal Medallion Fund
Judith and Michael Salter Medallion Fund
Keith Whitehead Memorial Medallion Fund
Larry J. Gammon Medallion Fund
New Hampshire Tomorrow Medallion Fund
New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association Medallion Fund
People’s United Bank Medallion Fund
Ray and Charon Pinard Medallion Fund
Raymond M. Smith Memorial Medallion Fund
Ronald J. and Jane A. Rioux Medallion Fund
Salter Family Medallion Fund
St. Mary’s Bank Medallion Fund
Streeter Family Medallion Fund
Sullivan Medallion Scholarship in Memory of Eileen Sullivan
Susan Cohen Medallion Fund
Tess and Tony Marts Medallion Fund
For Dick Lavalliere, it’s personal.
He started working in his father’s sheet metal business when he was 14 years old.
He got accepted at the Wentworth Institute of Technology, but the $1,500 needed to send him ($1,200 for tuition and $300 for books) was more than his family could scrape together.
He went into the Navy during the Vietnam War, and then back into the family business, but never forgot about the education he could not afford. “It always stayed with me,” he said.
He eventually became owner and president of Northeastern Sheet Metal. He was very successful, but remembers how it felt not to have the resources to be able to go to school. The longer he stayed in business, the more aware he became of people who needed a relatively modest amount of cash to obtain education and training that could change their lives. And of workforce shortages in New Hampshire that those folks could fill. So he and Lorraine set out to help fill those gaps.
“You can buy schooling for a tractor-trailer driver, and he’s good for the rest of his life,” Lavalliere said.
And he also likes it that the students who get Medallion Fund scholarships “get bragging rights the same as somebody who got a $40,000 scholarship to Harvard.”
The Lavallieres were referred to the Foundation by their estate attorney. The Foundation, Dick Lavalliere said, has made the process “so easy. When we came here and saw the structure…I said ‘this is the way to go.’ They administer everything, all the paperwork, the legal – it’s all done to government standards.”
With the opening of the new Medallion Funds and the Lavalieres’ challenge, the funds will be poised to help even more students in the future.
Alexandra Lominy is working full-time now, with solid standing in the profession of her dreams. She is enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program, which will allow her to advance further in her field. Without the Medallion Fund scholarships, she said “I don’t know if I would be here today.”
Ask her about nursing, and she answers with a smile that lights the room.
“I love it so much.”
To learn more about the Medallion Scholarship Funds, please contact Judy Burrows, director of student aid at 800-464-6641 ext. 224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.