Local author donates toward scholarship in memory of a Georgia Woman of Achievement
Athens, Ga. – Athens author Martha Phillips recently donated toward a 2013 Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund (JRF) scholarship in memory of Mary Ann Rutherford Lipscomb, an Athens native who championed education.
The Mary Ann Rutherford Lipscomb Scholarship will help a low-income woman 35 or older have access to higher education that will benefit herself, her family and her community.
Phillips is a member of The Athens Woman’s Club (AWC), which has shown its commitment to education by starting free kindergartens, the Athens Regional Library, the Tallulah Falls School and through sponsoring many other projects. Phillips invited AWC President Betsy Walker to join her when she presented her donation.
Jeannette Rankin scholars are women who have a plan for how to use their education to better their communities. This coupled with AWC’s dedication to women’s welfare and education, inspired Phillips to make the first donation toward the Mary Ann Rutherford Lipscomb Scholarship.
"I was a single mother raising two boys, and I can relate to the struggles of JRF recipients. It gives me great pleasure to help other women move forward,” Phillips said. (Picture left to right: Pat Reagan, Sue Lawrence, Martha Phillips, Betsy Walker)
Lipscomb was a teacher, principal and one of the founders of AWC. She focused on issues with rural schools in Northeast Georgia and worked through the club to provide textbooks and supplies. As a lobbyist, Lipscomb advocated for compulsory education for Georgia’s youth, free kindergartens and health regulations.
The importance of education to Phillips, Lipscomb and AWC ties directly to JRF’s mission to “provide scholarships and support for low-income women 35 and older to build better lives through college completion.”
This year, 87 women were selected from hundreds of applicants for scholarships of $2000 each. Awards are renewable for up to five years, so a recipient could receive up to $10,000 toward her education. To date, JRF has provided $2 million in financial aid to more than 750 women across the U.S. JRF is one of the few organizations making scholarships to older women students, an often overlooked group. These need-based scholarships give hope to women who are juggling school, work and family responsibilities. On average, 50% of JRF scholars are first in their families to go to college. In addition, JRF supports success; of alumnae responding to the annual survey, 84% had graduated or were still enrolled in school. JRF scholars are women who are making great changes for themselves, their families and their communities.
Annual Dinner 2013!
More than 300 people gathered in The Classic Center Atrium to celebrate the 87 hard-working women receiving JRF scholarships this year. Scholar speaker Kellirae sang beautifully and was accompanied by local talent Jim McKillip. After Kellirae's speech, Margaret Holt was so inspired, that she took to the stage and challenged guests to donate a scholarship. Attendees rose to the ocassion and donated $3,296 to fund the Friends of Kellirae Award.
Betty Jean Craige received the JRF Founders' Award with a moving speech, and Judith Ortiz Cofer honored us with a speech and reading.
See photos from the 37th Annual Dinner on our facebook page: JRF Dinner photos
It was a lovely nights, and we hope to see you next year!
Save the Date
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
The Classic Center (Need directions? Click here!)
Online reservations are now closed. Seating is limited, please confirm space is available by contacting JRF staff at 706-208-1211.
Betty Jean Craige, JRF Founders' Award Recipient
Judith Ortiz Cofer, Keynote
Kellirae Boann, Scholar Speaker
JRF Scholar Sustainers monthly giving program
We're excited to introduce our new monthly giving program, JRF Scholar Sustainers! A group of amazing donors have been giving monthly for a while now, and it finally clicked that monthly giving is not only convenient for you, but it helps scholars all year long.
When you donate monthly, you provide more than financial aid. In addition to a $2000 scholarship, JRF scholars receive support and encouragement all year, and each woman has direct access to Program Coordinator April Greene. Monthly gifts provide the resources for us to better work with the women who receive JRF scholarships.
Plus, it's easy to make a huge impact because monthly gifts add up to help women conquer poverty. JRF Scholar Sustainers make a difference at a variety of levels because their gifts are used where they're needed most. These levels give you an idea of what your gifts can do:
$15/month = placement exams so a scholar can earn her degree faster
$100/month = textbooks, supplies and lab fees so a scholar can fully participate in classes
$25/month = a laptop so a scholar can do classwork and write papers while she's home with her kids
$210/month = a scholarship for a woman whose education means she can conquer poverty
$50/month = brown bag lunches to keep a scholar healthy and focused
Of course, your monthly gift of any amount is greatly appreciated!
Community Pillar Award goes to JRF supporter
Joyce Waller, Director of Material Services at Athens Regional Medical Center (ARMC), was recently honored with the Shelby J. Lacy Community Pillar Award. She received the award in recognition of her selfless and substantial contributions of time and talent to the ARMC community.
As recipient of the award, Joyce had the opportunity to donate $500 to the charity of her choice and she chose JRF! Joyce has consistently supported the organization for 13 years, beginning when she first moved to Athens.
“I saw a newspaper article requesting help reviewing applications,” Joyce says. “I truly fell in love with the mission of JRF.”
Joyce continues to spend time each year helping with scholar selection and rallying others at ARMC to donate the ARMC Staff Award. A strong voice in the community, Joyce is an advocate for women's education and the support JRF provides to its scholars.
“Assisting with an individual’s education not only helps the individual, but instills the knowledge in the family/children of the individual, that education is a means to move ahead economically and socially,” she says. “JRF opens doors for our recipients. So many of our applicants have no support system. JRF becomes the support system.”
In addition to volunteering at JRF, Joyce is also the board chair of Children First and a volunteer for the Master Gardener program, the Catholic Center and Adopt A Highway for Athens Clarke County. The Shelby J. Lacy Community Pillar Award is given in recognition of Shelby J. Lacy, a retired long-time employee of the Athens Regional Health Services who dedicated her life to the betterment of the community.
A hearty congratulations and thank you to Joyce!
Scholar selection and support
Jeannette Rankin Fund volunteers are getting ready for the third, and final, level of application review. Starting with nearly 800 applications, pairs of dedicated supporters have read, analyzed and selected women to move to through two steps in the review process, ultimately ending with a group discussion at level three.
This year, about 60 applicants will be in the final stage of review. From that 60, one-third will not be selected for JRF scholarships. Many long-time volunteers decline to read at level three because the decisions are not easy and there are so many amazing women who need help.
A total of 87 renewal and new scholarships will be awarded this year, more than ever before. Each woman who is selected for a JRF scholarship will receive $2000 for the upcoming school year. Beyond that, she will be able to renew for up to five years, totaling $10,000 towards her education.
In addition, JRF scholars receive support year round from full-time Program Coordinator April Greene and from other JRF scholars and alumna in a closed Facebook group. JRF scholars often mention how important this care and encouragement is during times of stress and discouragement.
Donors and volunteers make all of this possible, and in this, JRF’s $2 Million year, we are grateful for all they’ve helped JRF scholars accomplish.
P.S. To find scholars in your area or career field, head over to our Scholars Stories page.