A Scholarship Blessing
In just a few days we will watch our daughter pull out of the driveway to attend another semester at college. She is entering her junior year, and she is working on her elementary education degree. We are so proud of her! We are also grateful for some of the financial assistance she has been able to receive through scholarships. As a parent providing financial assistance, the importance of these scholarship funds is a tremendous blessing.
The scholarships that my daughter has been fortunate enough to receive, remind me of my first personal experience of receiving a scholarship over 25 years ago. Even though I received several scholarships, one of those stands out above the rest.
There was a close friend of mine, her name was Tracy, who was tragically killed in a car accident during my senior year in high school. She was a beautiful, talented and intelligent young lady. We went to the same church, we were both lifeguards at our municipal pool, and we had many good times growing up together.
Tracy had a brother and a sister who were equally good friends of mine. Her parents were, and are, examples in their community. With great wisdom, this family set up a scholarship in Tracy’s memory. With great pride, I can say that I became the first recipient of this fund established in her honor.
Far beyond any financial impact, I am frequently reminded of the reflection of Tracy’s life in my education and my professional development. Because of the generosity exhibited to establish this scholarship fund, I am now a beneficiary of a remarkable act of kindness. And each time I see a scholarship fund that is established in memory of another person, I am reminded of a family in my hometown that did a similar thing for me, and countless other recipients. Despite the tragedy experienced in their personal lives, the devotion this family committed to establish this fund, has now spread joy and encouragement to many others. What a testimony!
Maybe you have a similar experience like mine. If not, maybe you can at least say that you too have been a recipient of scholarship funds in your past. If so, I believe it would be worth learning more about the family, person, or group that established a similar fund that helped you as you sought to further your education. You might just be amazed and inspired by the story you uncover.
Whatever your background, consider what you could do to give in a similar fashion. Since most scholarship funds are managed in perpetuity, maybe you would like to give a tax deductible donation to one of the scholarship funds that you received money from years ago. Better yet, establish a new scholarship fund in your own name, or in the name of a loved one.
As President of the Missouri Baptist Foundation, I have the privilege to meet several college students who receive distributions from our scholarship funds. Sometimes I have the honor to share the stories behind how those funds were established. One of my favorite job responsibilities is to speak to the history of the funds we manage for the benefit of others. I can hardly explain what a tremendous sense of joy this gives me each time this happens.
All scholarship funds have a story. Some get told, and unfortunately some do not. Now that you have read part of my testimony, maybe God is instructing you, to give “a scholarship blessing”!
Chris Calmer, CPA, CFA
President & Treasurer