LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Gulf Coast Community Foundation awards more than $600,000 in scholarships

August 28, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

To the Editor:
As the fall semester begins at colleges across the country amid the uncertainty of COVID-19, hundreds of local students have at least one thing they can rely on: scholarship funding to help ease the challenges of an unprecedented return to school.
Gulf Coast Community Foundation recently awarded $601,167 in scholarships to deserving local students for higher education in the 2020-21 academic year.
 “I am very grateful to (Gulf Coast) and anyone who is contributing to this foundation!” said one scholarship recipient in a thank-you note to the foundation. “You are changing the world into a positive light for me, given all the events that have been recently taking place.”
This year, Gulf Coast awarded a total of 527 scholarships to 294 students from Sarasota County, Charlotte County, and Boca Grande. The awards come from nearly 60 different scholarship funds administered by Gulf Coast.
“Together with our donors, Gulf Coast is dedicated to helping these local students and their families fulfill their dreams,” said Gulf Coast President/CEO Mark S. Pritchett. “2020 has been a difficult year for many, but our donors remain committed to making it brighter for these hard-working students. They represent the future of our region.”
Through its scholarship program, Gulf Coast awards scholarships to students who are accepted to or enrolled in an accredited postsecondary institution, including four-year colleges and universities, two-year colleges, and technical schools. Recipients range from graduating high school seniors through adults returning to school to earn a degree or certificate.
“This award has provided an enormous sense of relief for my family and me, and I am endlessly grateful for the confidence you have instilled in me,” said another one of this year’s scholarship recipients. “I am forever indebted to the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and its donors.”
More than $222,000 in scholarships was awarded from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation Scholarship Fund, an endowment earmarked by the foundation’s Board in 1997 to help local students pursue meaningful higher education. The balance of the awards came from dozens of scholarship funds established by individual donors, organizations, and businesses to invest in the education of promising students in their community. In all, Gulf Coast has awarded close to $9 million in scholarships since the creation of its scholarship program.                                   
 Mark Pritchett,
Gulf Coast Community Foundation