In 2015, a group of residents came to the Cambridge Community Foundation with a plan for a scholarship fund to help Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS) graduates with multi-year support for a post-secondary education. The Cambridge Community Foundation became a partner.
Now in its third year, the Falcon Pride Scholarship Fund has already helped 12 CRLS grads on their college journey. Each year, CRLS selects four scholars to receive $1,000 in their first year of college, and $1,500 in their second. Thanks to the strong support of 58 committed donors, the Fund announced it was expanding the scholarship, providing an additional $1,500 scholarship in the third year.
“As a community that values education, we should be thinking about all our children, the children of Cambridge, and helping them go to college because if they get their degree, it can have a huge impact on their life trajectory,” said Andus Baker, Cambridge Community Foundation board member who co-founded the Falcon Pride Scholarship, along with his wife Rowan Murphy and fellow board member, Liz Keating. “There are lots of groups helping kids succeed in high school and beyond. We wanted to help with money that can pay for books, reduce tuition costs, off-set how much a student has to work, or pay for trips home, whatever is needed.”
The Falcon Pride Scholarship is more powerful than the dollars. Recipients, who are from first-generation college-bound families or low-income families, feel a strong vote of confidence and the sense that their community is behind them…all the way.
“The scholarship covered my books and some of my tuition this year,” said Roodeline Guichette, a junior at UMass Boston and one of three, who are first-generation college students. “I was relieved to receive the Falcon Pride Scholarship. It did most of the work for me this year and I can do the rest. It’s also given me a little motivation to keep going and realize my dream of becoming a teacher.”
Her twin sister, Narinka, also received the scholarship in 2017, and the ongoing support has helped her relax about her journey at Emmanuel College. “I don’t have to stress as much about trying to figure out how I’m going to come up with the rest of the money to go to school,” she said, adding that she was truly grateful for the third year of support. “Because of this scholarship I know I can do it. I’m in college and now I’m one step closer to accomplishing my dream of becoming a lawyer.”
The stewards of the fund are well on their way to generating an endowment of a half million dollars in five years. The Foundation seeded the fund with $50,000 helping to launch the scholarships and the Cambridge resident initiative has focused on growing the fund. Today, 58 donors have contributed and the Fund is more than $372,000. Just as the scholarships focus on persistence in college, the Fund itself is focused on persistence as well. The goal is to ensure it’s a long-term sustainable fund – one that will sustain a recession and grow through its performance, sustaining gifts, and new donors.
“Our goal is to focus on persistence – ensuring that lower income students have the financial support to complete their studies,” said Liz Keating. “There are so many obstacles hampering kids from getting into and completing a post-secondary program. This is one important step toward helping our children gain equal access to higher education.”
The Falcon Pride Scholarships are doing their part by investing in students so they can focus their energy on academics and achieving their goals.
“Not going to college is not about a lack of motivation for students, it’s about money and the expense or they don’t know what their passion is…but that shouldn’t stop them,” said Roodeline Guichette, “because college is about learning what your passion is.”
So, Cambridge, let’s give all our city’s children the chance to find their passion. To donate to the Falcon Pride Scholarship Fund, visit Cambridge Community Foundation and specify to apply your donation to the Falcon Pride Scholarship.