Southside Community College Fund?

Maria Scruggs

Dear Editor:

On June 17, the St. Petersburg Branch of the NAACP will award two $1,500 scholarships in honor of past presidents Mrs. Garnelle Jenkins and Attorney Morris Milton. We are excited about the opportunity to make a dent in the furtherance of two of our community’s children’s college funds.

Inquiring minds wants to know, is that enough? I don’t mean in the terms of the scholarship, but is it enough to only be able to serve a couple of children? There are some who subscribe to the notion that anything any organization does to support black children deserves a pat on the back.

Actually, the cost of a college education is becoming more distant for many youths, particularly those that grades were not good enough to receive scholarships. Many find the financial resources they will get through loans and grant funding is not enough considering one textbook can run as high as $300.

South St. Petersburg, is it time to begin a Southside Community College Fund? Hold your hats Greeks; I am well aware that your national office sets the agenda at the local level. It is the agenda they lay out not the manner in which the agenda should be implemented.

Divine 9, NAACP, churches, social clubs, service clubs…imagine the community impact if we established a Southside Community Scholarship Endowment? This fund would be established and structured in that scholarship awards would be given annually through whatever mechanism the foundation board would develop.

The goal would be to develop a permanent asset within the community that, if managed appropriately, would significantly impact the number of students who could be helped. Groups that have national mandates to give scholarships would indeed be doing that by simply placing the funds that they raise into this scholarship fund.

The fund could be matched by outside donors and accrue interest. The advantage is the elimination of organizations competing to host the plethora of scholarships breakfasts, lunches, brunches and dinners traditionally held to support students planning to attend college.

Another plug for the St. Petersburg Branch NAACP’s Freedom Fund Celebration held Saturday, June 17.  Here we too will add to the number of groups providing scholarship money to deserving students, but my prayer is this would be the last time and the community would grab a hold of the advantage of us working collaboratively as opposed to operating within our own individual silos.

Please call me at (727) if you think your organization would be interested!

Maria L. Scruggs, President, St. Petersburg Branch NAACP

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