In 2008 when the Scioto Foundation’s UCAN (University/College Access Network) was created to help area students plan, prepare and pay for college, the 12 Scioto County School Systems established endowment funds after the Foundation offered a matching grant challenge to raise funds for scholarships. Among all those endowment funds, one stands out as unique: the Henry Oberling Family Fund was created as a private investment endeavor when Henry pledged $10,000 a year for five years to fund the project for Notre Dame High School.
Now fifteen years later, the Notre Dame/Oberling Family Scholarship Fund has awarded 39 scholarships to ND seniors totaling $83,924 from a fund that has grown to a value of $290,209.89 as of December 31, 2021. The Notre Dame/Oberling Family Scholarship Fund ranks second in amount only to the Clay High School Legacy Fund among all the area schools’ UCAN Funds. Now the Oberling Family Scholarships given to ND graduates each year are averaging over $2,000 each.
“It’s nothing short of amazing,” said Ann Oberling commenting on how quickly the UCAN program grew. She explained that Henry had a health scare about the time the UCAN program was established. When he was restored to good health, “he wanted to do something significant for Notre Dame High School,” she said. “We credit Beth (their daughter, who works at Notre Dame High School) with the idea for the fund. She was excited when she heard about UCAN and told us about it. Henry liked the plan when he heard about the match.”
“We wanted to make an impact with the amount of money given,” Henry said. “I was a little skeptical when the program first started until I thought about it and understood it. Now I say
‘hats off’ to whoever came up with it.”
“We have never been involved in the selection of the scholarship recipients,” said Ann. “We don’t know the kids. A school committee makes the selections.”
Both Henry and Ann are alumni and long-time supporters of Notre Dame Schools. Their three children and seven grandchildren graduated from Notre Dame.
Beth Haney, who is now Student Services Coordinator at Notre Dame High School, said the selection process involves a lengthy application and is very competitive.
“It’s fun to see others in the community contribute to the fund; it’s a nice opportunity,” Haney said. “It’s Dad’s legacy.”
“Patty Tennant (Scioto Foundation Program Manager for Donor Services) knocked at the door at the right time,” Henry Oberling commented.
“It’s also fun to see that students understand the value of these scholarships,” said Haney from the perspective of her work with the Notre Dame seniors. “It’s so personal. On graduation day the father of one graduate, Mollie Creech, said ‘Of all the scholarships she applied for, this is the one she really wanted.’ It’s local, it’s personal and the kids know they’ve earned it,” Haney added.
Jarrod Lewis received the first UCAN/Oberling Family Scholarship in 2009. This year’s recipients were Mollie Creech, Ebbie Potts and Brayden Yarnell.
Contributions to the Notre Dame/Oberling Family Scholarship Fund from family, friends, school alumni or the general public may be made at any time. Donations may be in the form of gifts of cash, securities or property.
Additional information about the Notre Dame/Oberling Family Scholarship Fund or other planned giving opportunities at the Scioto Foundation may be obtained by contacting Patty Tennant, Program Officer – Donor Services, or SF Executive Director Kim Cutlip at (740) 354-4612.