I like to think of scholarships as person-to-person philanthropy.
More than 400 New Hampshire people and families have set up scholarship funds at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to help other New Hampshire people get the education they need.
Kaylee Downs is studying to be a firefighter and paramedic, just like her dad — with help from three New Hampshire families who set up scholarship funds. A New Hampshire business created a scholarship that is helping Yahya Nasser Eddine earn his teaching certificate so he can teach English to speakers of other languages. And Stephanie Ferland is about to realize her dream of becoming a nurse with help from a man who dedicated his scholarship to students studying in medicine and science.
Since 1972, New Hampshire generosity has made it possible for the Foundation to award more than $100 million in scholarships to nearly 30,000 students. About 1,500 people are helped by this person-to-person philanthropy every year.
The Foundation’s work is all about making communities stronger, and scholarships are a critical component of that work. My colleague, Michael Turmelle, director of education and career initiatives at the Foundation, puts it this way: “For students who face barriers to opportunity — like those who are the first in their families to go to college — a scholarship can provide a rung up on the economic ladder that represents a huge advance in economic and social mobility. And not just for them, but for the next generation as well.”
Bill Levy, who set up a scholarship fund to help kids from the Mount Washington Valley, said simply: “If they have the gumption to go to school, but not the money, I’m going to help them.”
When students get the education they need to thrive and build rewarding careers in New Hampshire, then our communities and our economy thrive, too.
For 32 years, our Student Aid program has been overseen by Judy Burrows, who retires at the end of 2019. During her tenure, the Foundation’s Student Aid program has grown nearly tenfold, from awarding $750,000 per year to $6 million per year to students. The number of scholarship funds has jumped twelvefold: from 34 to 421. Judy has worked with scores of generous people to establish the scholarships that will help New Hampshire students for generations to come. People whom Judy has worked with over more than three decades sing her praises — and for good reason.
Among my favorite days of the year are when we send out scholarship checks. Stacks of envelopes are addressed to people in almost every city and town in New Hampshire, and the funds have come from people in almost every city and town in New Hampshire. It’s person-to-person philanthropy. And it makes New Hampshire better for all.