By Monica Tanouye For The Island Connection
On July 2, 2015, a generous group of anonymous donors, moved by the tragic murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church and Charleston’s remarkable response to the shooting, created a $3.2 million scholarship fund in honor of Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney.
Coastal Community Foundation today announced that the anonymous donors have selected the Foundation to manage the Fund and its companion program, the Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program. This scholarship program will promote access to higher education for African American students by awarding scholarships and providing supportive resources.
“Students participating in the Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program will have the opportunity to receive not just financial assistance, but to join a growing community of exceptional young leaders from the Lowcountry,” stated Darrin Goss, Sr., President and CEO of Coastal Community Foundation. “We are proud to play some small part in Reverend Pinckney’s legacy through this scholarship program.”
“I am pleased that students who might not otherwise have access to higher education or these kinds of supportive services will benefit from the funds raised in my husband’s memory. Access to a quality education is essential in the fight for social justice. I have devoted my professional life to educational initiatives and I look forward to working with Coastal Community Foundation on this important project,” said Jennifer Pinckney, Reverend Pinckney’s widow.
In addition to financial support, the Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program will provide pre-college training and assistance, contact and support from program staff each school year and invitations to workshops and events during each student’s tenure as a “Reverend Pinckney Scholar”. It is anticipated that scholarship awards will range from $5,000 to $10,000 annually, and students will be eligible to renew awards for up to four years of higher education. The Foundation anticipates selecting eight scholarship winners in the first year and expanding the program in subsequent years.
Former Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. stated, “On behalf of the anonymous donors, we are very pleased to be working with Coastal Community Foundation on this scholarship. The Foundation’s expertise in scholarship administration and long-standing community history make it the best in the field to run this scholarship program, paying a fitting tribute to Reverend Pinckney’s legacy.”
This year, scholarship applications are open to African American students whose permanent residence is in Beaufort, Charleston or Jasper Counties, to include immediate family members of the victims of last June’s shooting. Selection criteria include, but are not limited to, substantial financial need, academic performance and leadership and academic potential. The scholarship selection committee will also look for character traits and aspirations in applicants that will serve as a fitting legacy to the life of the Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney.
Former Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr.; Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; William Lewis, Jr., who were critical to the establishment of the scholarship last summer, have agreed to advise Coastal Community Foundation on the scholarship process. In addition, Mrs. Pinckney will join them in advising the Foundation and be involved in program events.
Applications will be available online at www.coastalcommunityfoundation.org and will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, April 15, 2016. Visit the web link above for further details on the Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program or contact Sydney Meeks Fowler at firstname.lastname@example.org or (843) 723-3635.