There isn’t much that can slow down the dedicated volunteers, donors, Board members and staff of the Frisco Education Foundation.
A year after a global pandemic required the non-profit to take its annual distribution of college scholarships to graduating Frisco ISD seniors on the road, rain and the threat of severe weather forced FEF to shift gears once again this week.
The Foundation’s annual Scholarship Night celebrating the Class of 2021 had been scheduled outdoors May 18 to bring donors and recipients of their scholarships together. But with the day’s weather and continued chance for rain in the forecast, FEF quickly moved its distribution indoors to the lobby of the Frisco ISD Administration Building. Students were invited to come and go over the course of three days to pick up their scholarship awards and pose for photos.
“We are thankful to our many donors for their continued support of our students and their higher education through their support of the FEF Scholarship Program,” said Foundation Director Allison Miller. “The events of the past two years have required us to be flexible and nimble! Our donors have been so gracious during these times with both their generosity and their understanding. Thanks to them and our hardworking Board and volunteers, our scholarship program has been able to continue.”
FISD parents Debbie and Gary Griffin were among the donors hoping to meet their scholarship recipients in person. The couple, who first sponsored scholarships for the Class of 2020, said despite the circumstances of the past two years, giving to FEF allows them to make a personal connection to the students who benefit, unlike other causes they support.
“With FEF, we got to see and hear from the actual individuals our contribution went to help. We heard their stories. We felt their genuine gratitude and enthusiasm. We were able to rejoice with them and savor their vision for the future,” the Griffins wrote of their donation experience in 2020.
A total of 931 scholarships were awarded to 801 Frisco ISD seniors this year, totaling nearly $740,000. Since 1999, FEF has awarded more than $8.7 million in college scholarships to more than 7,900 graduating seniors. Scholarships are funded both by the Foundation itself and outside donors including individuals, businesses and organizations throughout the community.
“We believe a financial investment in students makes a difference,” the Griffins wrote. “It makes a difference in their ability to afford higher education. But more importantly, it makes a difference in the self-confidence they feel and in their sense of self-worth when their hard work is validated by something as significant as a financial reward. “
This year’s event was made possible by presenting sponsor Texas Health Frisco, which donated $10,000 to support student scholarships and yard signs for the scholarship recipients. Staff from the hospital were on hand at the Administration Building on Tuesday to greet and congratulate the student winners.
“We are excited about each and every one of your futures,” John Klitsch, professional and support services officer for Texas Health Frisco, told the soon-to-be graduates. “Knowledge is power, and education opens up so many opportunities. Work hard, and I assure you it will pay long-term dividends.”
FEF is also grateful for the partnership and support of the Frisco Roughriders, which donated the use of Riders Field for the originally planned outdoor event.