SOUTHINGTON — Funds from individual donors allowed the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain to give more money than ever before to area students seeking scholarships for higher education.
“I think it is amazing, especially with some of the newer funds we set up that give out substantial awards,” said Kimberly Duncan, the foundation’s communications and donor relations manager.
The foundation, established in 1941, awarded $302,710 in scholarships this year, the first time it’s distributed over $300,000 in one year.
New scholarship funds established by individual donors in Southington, Berlin, New Britain and Plainville — as well as favorable market conditions — produced a larger than ever pot of money to distribute among 73 students, Duncan said.
Many of the recipients have sent letters thanking the foundation and its patrons.
“They send in thank you notes that are so heartwarming and they actually realize how much this is going to help them in their careers and their futures,” Duncan said.
As class valedictorian at Southington High School, Gabe LeBlanc received the Arthur T. Blumer MD merit scholarship. He plans to attend Harvard University.
Eight of the students receiving scholarships from the foundation are from Southington, four are from Plainville and 13 are from Berlin.
“There’s been so much stress and uncertainty and college really only adds to that,” LeBlanc said. “There’s been courses and things to buy and the moving process, so the scholarship helps alleviate that stress … and focus on what really matters like exploring career fields.”
The scholarship funds are a reflection of those who made it through the college process and want to “help the next generation go forward and achieve what they achieved,” LeBlanc said.
“For me personally, I guess there's been so much to consider about the future, so to me it means a lot that there are adults in our community … who are dedicated to our youth and want to make a difference,” he said.
Funds come from a range of donors, Duncan said.
“Sometimes it’s people who received substantial scholarships in their lifetime and they want to return the favor and give back to another student … and create a chain of giving,” he said.
The number of scholarships the foundation was able to give out was in line with past years, but the amounts were bigger, Duncan said.
They were also able to allocate 10 scholarships — twice the usual number — through the foundation’s Degree Completion Fund pilot program, which supports students in their final years of college at Central Connecticut State University