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.
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
Thank you again for your support as we launch this scholarship. We could not do this work without you!
Black Friday College Fund Vice President
On Behalf Of The Entire Board