The Foundation for Palm Springs Unified School District recently held a virtual celebration with 38 students in PSUSD’s class of 2020 who were awarded scholarships ranging from $1,000 to over $6,600.
Since it was not possible to recognize the students in person due to COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, the recent virtual event gave scholarship funders the opportunity to meet the recipients of their awards in breakout rooms during the celebratory event. Students received awards totaling almost $104,000 from one of the nine current endowments handled by the Foundation.
“The Foundation has scholarships that are endowed and live in perpetuity,” said Foundation Director Ellen Goodman. “Donors who have endowed named scholarships endow a minimum of $50,000 to name a scholarship for themselves or a loved one.”
Goodman noted that the set amounts for scholarships have specific guidelines attached to them, which are often established by the donor. Some are annual one-time distributions to a student or students, and others are recurring throughout the students’ college career. In addition to the endowed scholarships, various groups and individuals also donate funds toward scholarships throughout the calendar year.
Scholarship recipients are selected by the Foundation’s scholarship grant committee members who review applications and interview prospective awardees.
“It is a carefully and deliberate process that involves, students, counselors and – when possible – donors,” said Goodman of choosing recipients. “And once students are selected, committee members and staff stay in touch with graduating scholars as they enter their first semester of school. For recurring scholarships, the Foundation stays in touch with students throughout the scholarship timeline and process.”
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Class of 2020 scholarship recipients are attending colleges and universities including Berklee College of Music; Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach, Northridge and San Bernardino Palm Desert Campus, Cal Institute of the Arts, College of the Desert; Central Baptist College; Institute of the Arts in Chicago; Mesa College; Susquehanna University and UC Berkeley, San Diego, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Each May, PSUSD high school seniors are invited to apply online through the Foundation’s website for available scholarships. Some of the Foundation’s current scholarship endowments include the following:
- Cote Scholarship (in memory of longtime Palm Springs High teacher Letha Cote) is a $1,000 annual award for a Palm Springs High student pursuing Latin studies in college
- Gambi Scholarships which provide awards to students who receive other financial support in order to fulfill gaps in higher education funding
- Georgia Fogelson Scholarship in partnership with the Palm Springs Arts Museum provides $1,000 to $5,000 to seniors who plan to major or minor in some type of arts education
- Keisha D. Scholarship provides $2,500 to a minority student pursuing education in music or performing arts
- Janice Sullivan Scholarship is a $2,500 scholarship each year for a student with financial hardship due to a personal or family member’s medical condition.
- Desert Oasis Chapel Scholarships are $2,500 awards for LGBTQ students
Goodman noted that the Foundation also serves as an administrator for individual scholarships.
“As the Foundation has grown and become more visible in the community, individuals in the Valley who are looking for investment strategies that benefit youth have increasingly sought out the Foundation as a partner in getting scholarship-gift monies to deserving students.”
Those interested in funding a scholarship award or establishing an endowment can contact Goodman at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Foundation for PSUSD and a full list of programs and projects the Foundation supports, visit https://www.psusdfoundation.net/.
Joan Boiko is the Coordinator of Communications and Community Outreach for the Palm Springs Unified School District. She can be reached at email@example.com or (760) 883-2701, ext. 2.
This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Palm Springs Unified School District Foundation awards nearly $104,000 in scholarships