FORT MYERS, FL. — For over 40 years, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation has been helping students in Southwest Florida achieve higher education through its scholarship program.
This year nearly $900,000 will be distributed in scholarships to 135 recipients.
“We don’t ever want to think about financial barriers get in the way of a student pursuing their dreams,” said Sarah Owen, CEO & President of Southwest Florida Community Foundation.
Those scholarships will go towards the 20-21 school year for students pursuing a college degree or technical certificate.
This year the foundation had a record number of over 800 students apply for a scholarship.
“A lot of families are trying to figure out how they are going to afford college, so just to be able to give them that little ounce of hope makes it all worth it for us,” said Malaina Mote.
Mote is the head of Power and Social Mobility for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.
As Coronavirus restrictions continue to be in place, this year, the foundation will recognize the 2020 scholarship recipients virtually.
“We want to celebrate them, and we also want to celebrate the donors, and the scholarship readers that make the whole process possible,” said Owen.
Average scholarships are $5,000, but recipients could get even more.
“Our top awarded, our most competitive scholarships are four-year, $10,000 renewable scholarships, so a total of $40,000,” said Mote.
Each donor establishes the criteria for each scholarship.
“Our hope is that these scholarships help students have hope for their future,” said Owen.
Past recipients have gone to work in various professions, including the medical field.
The virtual scholarship ceremony will take place on May 7. There, students will have a chance to share their stories and receive comments of encouragement.
To learn more about the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, click here.