At the age of 23 I launched my legacy by establishing a scholarship foundation. My scholarship foundation serves students at my high school, Warren County High School, and my home church, Oasis of Hope Ministries. Starting my scholarship was a way to give back to two communities that have had a very significant influence on my life. I was very active in high school, participating in student government, athletics, and other enrichment activities (yes, I was the mascot one year and I’m not ashamed)! I love returning home to visit my school and former teachers when I have the opportunity. I LOVE my Oasis family. I’m a little biased because my parents are the pastors, but my church community helped shape my identity and really inspires me to give to others on a regular basis. Starting my scholarship foundation was an ambitious goal, but with the support of my family, friends, church community, and network, we’ve been able to award over $13,000 in scholarships in just 5 years.
Starting a scholarship in my 20s has by far been the most rewarding thing I’ve done (outside of marrying my best friend, Braxton, and giving birth to our beautiful son, Silas). Here are a few reasons why I started my scholarship, and why you should too.
As a philanthropist, you are dedicated to putting your needs aside and serving others. You have a heart for people in need. You recognize that students need financial support and are willing to be a champion for them through the provision of scholarship funds.
Your gift keeps giving:
The first scholarship I awarded was only $250. I was a graduate student at Michigan State University (go green!) and had very little disposable income, but I was determined to give a scholarship so I set aside money on a regular basis to start the scholarship account. While $250 isn’t a lot of money, it was a seed and the foundation of our giving that has grown exponentially! As I mentioned, in 2011 we awarded $250 and in 2016 we awarded $10,000 in scholarships.
You get to define your legacy:
Don’t let someone else tell your story. You define who you care about and who you choose to serve in your giving. Spoiler alert! Starting a scholarship in your name isn’t really about you at all. It’s about the students who choose to apply for your scholarship, the students who are awarded your scholarship, the students who believe in your cause and see themselves reflected in your mission and values. It’s about the people who support your cause and rally behind your efforts to make a difference in the lives of young people.
Are you in your 20s? Don’t wait to create your legacy. #launchyourlegacyTODAY!