By Joseph Pratt
The Scioto Foundation recently held its annual academic luncheon and honored over 250 students, donors, and parents, as they presented scholarships to over 80 students in attendance. For the 2015-16 academic year, the Scioto Foundation awarded $370,000 to students all over the region.
Executive Director Kim Cutlip said that the luncheon was a major success, along with the many scholarships awarded.
“What I love about the scholarship luncheon is that the students and the donors get to sit down over lunch,” Cutlip said. “It gives the students the opportunity to thank the donors for their scholarship and it provides the donors the chance to meet students and realize they have done a really nice thing. The luncheon is just a very nice fit and pulls everything together.”
Cutlip went on to say that the luncheon also provides a sense of identity to the scholarships, since donors get the opportunity to physically meet and discuss with the students, and get the opportunity to put a face to their cause.
The Scioto Foundation has been assisting students to achieve their educational goals through scholarship opportunities since 1981. The luncheon has been ongoing for 15 of those years. The luncheon first happened by chance, when the organization was hosting a celebration of an anniversary with donors. The group invited some of their scholarship recipients and Cutlip said that everything just clicked with its success and the connections forged between the donors and students.
Cutlip said that the amount of scholarships awarded this year was pretty typical for the organization and she looks forward to eventually reaching the major milestone of $500,000.
“For me, the next big amount in my minds-eye is half a million. That will be the next wow moment for me,” Cutlip said. “We are really close to $400,000 and it will be great to cross it, but half a million would truly be amazing, and I think we’ll do it, too.”
Cutlip explained that the scholarships are all created with local dollars by local community members and go right back to the area students who are pursuing higher education.
Local Portsmouth High School Graduate William Meriwether is now a senior at Miami University, where he has dedicated four years to studying music. He has received many scholarships from the organization over the years and says that he wouldn’t be where he is today without the Foundation’s support.
“I’ve received the same scholarships as the previous years. If it wasn’t for the Scioto Foundation, there would be no financial way for me to attend Miami and study music,” Meriwether said. “Miami has been an incredible, life changing experience for me, and without the funds and scholarship provided to me through the Scioto Foundation, I wouldn’t have nearly the amount of opportunities I have now. The Scioto Foundation is truly a blessing for the students of Scioto County.”
Meriwether went on to say that the luncheons and the scholarship opportunities have given him more than a financial support for his future, but relationships he will never forget.
“An unexpected outcome from the Scioto Foundation is the great relationship I’ve been able to create with the donors and their families. Both the donors of the Bill Green Music Scholarship and the Charles Varney Memorial Scholarship have been wonderful people to meet and get to know, and they have expressed interest in my ongoing studies and progress through college. It’s been a great experience to meet and talk to them, one I encourage all scholarship recipients pursue.”
The Scioto Foundation plans on another celebration of scholarship next July and will be working to secure more funds for students in the meantime.
“These donors are helping make dreams come true for these students, so we think it is a really wonderful cause,” Cutlip said.
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPrat03.