MEET OUR INAUGURAL SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS!

Thank you for your investment in the BFCFund’s goal of improving educational access and promoting wellness for students of color! Thanks to your generosity and that of an anonymous donor, we have awarded two inaugural scholarships instead of the one we had planned!

Even though we surpassed our expectations for year one of the fund, it was very tough to turn down the SEVEN other worthy candidates who applied. All of them were highly impressive! Rest assured that your donation has made a difference in the lives of students who have traditionally been hindered in their ability to access post-secondary education. We are counting on your ongoing support to keep investing in the lives of exceptional young people like our inaugural award winners, Mia Taylor of Chicago, Illinois and Yormelis Vazquez of Camden, New Jersey.

Mia, a freshman at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, will receive $1000 towards tuition and up to $1000 in support service funds. Yormelis, a freshman at Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey, will receive a $500 tuition scholarship and up to $500 in support service funds. Click the links below to read their stories:

MEET OUR AWARD WINNERS

 MIA TAYLOR

MIA TAYLOR

“Until I was ten years old, silence was my best friend. Except for my immediate family, the rest of the world was totally deprived of my voice. I would nod, shrug, or gesture, using anything but sound to communicate. This silence wasn’t ordinary shyness; my silence was due to a childhood anxiety disorder called selective mutism. At home, I was free to be me. I’d sing, argue and ramble at all hours. Away from home, I was painfully mute. People who knew me then would have never imagined that communication would become my passion, my first love.”

⇨ READ THE REST OF MIA’S STORY
 

 YORMELIS VAZQUEZ

YORMELIS VAZQUEZ

“My childhood was dominated by adulthood; Instead of going outside or playing with dolls, I was helping my grandmother take care of my great grandparents in Puerto Rico. Every morning, I would wake up early just to watch my great grandpa feed the birds on the balcony, and during lunch, I ran home from school just to receive my great grand-mom's blessing. Eventually, the birds went unfed, and my great grandmother’s blessings became a memory that turned into a promise – I would never turn down opportunities that life presents.”

READ THE REST OF YORMELIS’ STORY

NEWS

We held our first annual meeting in July to review our accomplishments and begin planning for the future. Read our annual report.

A NOTE OF THANKS

Speaking of the BFCFund board, I want to express heartfelt thanks to each member for their tireless work on behalf of this fund. Throughout the winter and spring, we met bi-weekly via phone under the leadership of Vice-President David Woo to establish ourselves and select our first two scholars. The board’s patience with me and with the process is a testament to each member’s character and commitment. This is a great group of people, and I know my late son Gabe, in whose memory the fund was launched, would be incredibly proud of what we’re doing and delighted that we’re doing it together. God bless you Carol Gifford, Sue Pak, Lola Olateju, Michael Scheller, and David Woo!

And again, thank you for your generosity towards this new effort. My family and I have committed to guarantee one scholarship every year, but we welcome your ongoing support to offer this unique scholarship to as many young people as possible!

With gratitude,

Christine A. Scheller

Black Friday College Fund Founder and President

⇨Donate to BFCFund via paypal or mail a check to: PO Box #4517, Brick, NJ, 08723. Learn more about our work at BFCfund.org.

Spread the word! We did it! Deadline May 17, 2017

Dear friends,

We did it! We survived an unexpected bureaucratic gauntlet to launch a memorial scholarship fund that offers both financial and personal support to students of color, and you helped make it happen! Thank you! We can’t express enough how much we appreciate your encouragement, support, and patience as we went from soft launch to application in 5 short months!

Now, the time has come to get the word out that we are now accepting applications for the first Black Friday College Fund scholarship! The application process is easy. Potential scholars simply fill out the application form on our website, provide proof of economic need, and secure one letter of recommendation by May 17, 2017. We will take one month to review applications and will announce the winner by June 30, 2017.

As we prepare to offer this scholarship, my heart is full of joy at the thought of how happy it would make my late son Gabe to know that his family and some of his dearest friends have joined together to pursue his passion for supporting educational opportunities for underserved students. Simply put, he would love it!

So, here’s what we need from you: please tell everyone you know who might be eligible or who might know someone who is. Scholarship requirements include:

  • Must be a graduating senior, ages 18-24
  • Minority (Black or African American, American-Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, non-white Hispanic, Latino or Spanish, Middle-Eastern or North African, or multi-racial identity)
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Plan to attend a 4-year college or university
  • Provide official high school transcript
  • Demonstrate financial need

We could not be more excited to offer one young scholar $1000 toward the cost of their educational dreams and up to another $1000 in tutoring, mental health care, or other support services that will help ensure that one bright, young student reaches their dreams.

To keep up with our progress, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook. To make a contribution, donate via paypal or mail a check to: BFCFund | PO Box # 4517 | Brick, NJ 08723. For questions, email us at info@BFCFund.org.

Again, my heart is full of gratitude for your support!

Warmly,
Christine Scheller
President and Founder,
Black Friday College Fund

Spring 2017 Newsletter

Dear Supporters,

Thank you for your support in our efforts to improve educational access and promote wellness for students seeking post-secondary education. Thanks to your support, we have been able to raise $2700 since our soft launch in November 2016. With those funds we have been able to pay for the necessary costs to launch our organization and to fund a scholarship for one student to attend a college or university, and support them in accessing support services. Your donations will make a difference in the lives of students who have traditionally been constrained in their ability to access post-secondary education.

OUR MISSION

As many of you may know, the members of the board established the Fund in memory of Gabriel Scheller, in partnership with his family. Gabe was passionate about educational equity and worked as a young person to serve people who have been traditionally marginalized. Tragically, Gabe died by suicide in March 2008 as a result of his own struggles with mental health.

It was Gabe’s life, in all of its beautiful and tragic aspects, that inspired our mission of improving educational access, and promoting wellness. Research suggests that students of color are less likely to attend 4-year post-secondary institutions and complete a bachelor’s degree. Moreover, students of color tend to be at greater risk of dropping out and “stopping” out of their programs. We also know that students of color tend to be less likely to seek support, but are more likely to face challenges which decrease the chances of them completing their degrees. Our belief is that students of color need support in accessing post-secondary education, as well as the on-going support necessary to complete their degrees. The Fund hopes to mitigate some of the barriers to access and support by providing $1000 towards tuition and an additional $1000 for support services (including mental health and tutoring).

OUR WORK SO FAR AND NEXT STEPS

In pursuit of our mission, we have been working towards the goal of awarding our first scholarship later this year. We would like to provide you with an update on some of the work we have been involved in since our soft launch. First, we have changed our name to Black Friday College Fund. We wanted to choose  a name consistent with our mission of helping students access post-secondary education, and promoting their wellness through the college process. We believe the new name better reflects this mission. Additionally, we have been meeting regularly as a board to make the Fund stronger. All of the board members are volunteers and receive no monetary compensation for the time they spend on the fund. Despite their very busy schedules, the board has worked tirelessly to get the fund off the ground. Thanks to the board’s hard work, we are still on schedule to award our first scholarship this year. I would like to personally thank the board members for their work by mentioning them by name here: Ariel Esposito-Bernard, Carol Gifford, Christine Scheller, Jeff Scheller, J.V. Andres, Lola Olateju,  Michael Scheller and Sue Pak.

We’ve also been working on two additional fundraising campaigns since the Fund’s soft launch. Our two-fold ask is this:

  1. We seek  artists to submit any pieces of art that we could use as a part of our fundraising efforts. We want to ensure that Gabe’s love for art was reflected in our work. If you are interested in donating your own artwork, please reach out to us on Facebook @BFCFund or email us at blackfridayscholarship@gmail.com.

  2. Join us for our #9to99 campaign. As the anniversary of Gabe’s passing approaches on March 28th, we are promoting wellness through  providing information regarding mental health on that day. Furthermore, we seek donations to specifically fund the support services aspect of our scholarship. .

 

Alternatively, you could choose to donate $9 per month for the next year towards the scholarship. If we get 111 people to donate $9, 11 people to donate $99, or even 10 people to donate $9 per month, we will be able to fund one student’s support funds! Donate to the Fund via paypal at  paypal.me/BFSFund or mail a check to: PO Box #4517, Brick, NJ, 08723.

 

Lastly, we are recruiting scholars to apply for the scholarship. We are still working on building our web presence, but if you know students who would be a good fit for a scholarship, please have them email us expressing their interest, and we will send them a link for our application. They can email us at blackfridayscholarship@gmail.com.

 

Thank you again for your support as we launch this scholarship. We could not do this work without you!

Sincerely,

David Woo

Black Friday College Fund Vice President

On Behalf Of The Entire Board

Announcing the Black Friday Scholarship Fund

11/24/16

Hello friend,

Along with our family and close friends of our late son Gabe, my husband Jeff and I are pleased to announce the launch of the Black Friday Scholarship Fund!

BFSFund is dedicated to helping economically challenged students of color achieve their dreams. The Fund believes no student should be deprived of a quality education due to lack of school funds or social and mental health services. It is unique in that it sets aside matching funds to provide support services like tutoring and mental health care for scholarship recipients. We will offer an initial award of $1000 will hold another $1000 in reserve for assistance requests. The long-term goal of the fund is to provide 5 awards in 5 years and 10 awards in 10 years. 

This board-directed endeavor is being launched in memory of Gabriel Gifford Scheller. Gabe died in 2008 at the age of 23. He was not only a loving family member and cherished friend to those of us involved in this effort; he was also a brilliant and multi-talented young man whose dreams and life were cut short by unrecognized and untreated depression. Gabe was also committed to improving the lives of young people. The fund honors his life's passion while recognizing the unseen challenges that prevented him from realizing his dreams.

Every four years, Gabriel's birthday falls on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, making it a challenging time for our family. In 2015, his birthday fell on a Black Friday that spurred the kinds of racial justice efforts to which he was deeply committed. These events - Gabe's birthday, Black Friday, and the Black Lives Matters movement - came together inspire the Black Friday Scholarship Fund.

My family and I invite you to join us and the other wonderful board members (listed below) in doing good this Black Friday by investing in the next generation. Your tax deductible donation will make a difference!

Officers 

  • Christine Scheller, President 
  • Jeffrey Scheller, Vice President and Secretary 
  • Carol Gifford, Treasurer

Board of Trustees

  • Dave Woo, Chairman 
  • J.V. Andres
  • Ariel Esposito-Bernard
  • Sue Lee
  • Lola Olateju
  • Benjamin Rey
  • Michael Scheller

For information, email us at blackfridayscholarship@gmail.com

With gratitude,

Christine and Jeffrey Scheller