I always credit my maternal grandmother, Ismay “Mama” Amsterdam, with directly and indirectly instilling in me many of the intrinsic values that make me the person I am today. My generous, loving, hard-working, and supportive Mama only managed to acquire a 4th-grade education while growing up in abject poverty in Guyana, South America. Nevertheless, she instilled in my mom and her siblings the importance of obtaining an education by any means necessary. My mom, Muline Mickle, is a retired educator, formerly with the New York City public school system. She has a master’s degree and many additional literacy specialist certifications. My mom and I had to work while attending college to cover our expenses. I was blessed to receive a few scholarships during my undergraduate years; they meant the world to me as I pursued a bachelor’s degree at the City University of New York.
Since its founding in 1962, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation (TGKVF) has made post-secondary education in West Virginia more accessible by providing scholarships throughout the state. To understand the impact of our efforts, we contracted with Midwest Evaluation and Research (MER) in 2016 to conduct an evaluation of the TGKVF Scholarship Program.
From an analysis of TGKVF’s existing data and a survey of 203 students who received scholarships from 2002-2017, the following five major impacts emerged:
- The TGKVF Scholarship Program helps people attend college who would not otherwise have been able to do so (around 25% of scholarship recipients indicate they would not have been able to attend college without TGKVF support).
- Receiving a TGKVF scholarship correlates with better grades (3.7 GPA compared to 3.1 GPA national average).
- Receiving a TGKVF scholarship correlates with higher rates of graduation from college (96% graduation rate compared to 59% national average).
- Upon graduation, TGKVF scholarship recipients have significantly less debt than college graduates who did not receive a TGKVF scholarship (approximately half the debt of the national average).
- A TGKVF scholarship correlates with higher income after graduation (approximately 20% higher income than peers). These findings validate the positive effects of our investment of resources in scholarship efforts. They also have potential implications for the management of existing funds, the creation of new funds, and the engagement of past recipients in helping the next generation.
The complete scholarship evaluation report is available at https://tgkvf.org/news-and-publications/publications/
TGKVF currently has 110 scholarship funds. Three hundred and sixty-two scholarships, totaling $736,812, were awarded in 2019 from these funds. We welcome donors who would like to add to existing scholarship funds or invest at least $20,000 to begin a new fund.
Our scholarship application is available online at www.tgkvf.org/scholarships and the annual application period is from November 1 to January 15. A team of 80 volunteers, who serve on 12 scholarship committees, review applications and recommend winners by April. TGKVF scholarship awards are made in August and range between $500 and $10,000. Award checks are mailed to the recipients’ institutions directly.
The Foundation also administers scholarship funds for various colleges and universities. The respective college/university selects the winners of these scholarships.
Susan Hoover is our scholarship program officer and she can be reached at email@example.com or 304.346.3620 with questions.