A Splendid Year for Scholarships

Action for Older Persons Resource Center photo

The year 2013 set a record at the Community Foundation, with more than $116,000 coming in to establish new scholarship funds.

One fund got started when an existing program, Greene Dollars for Scholars, joined forces with the Foundation. The new Greene Community Scholarship Fund lets supporters in Greene retain local autonomy even as they gain a strong financial and administrative partner.

“One of the biggest advantages for us is the Foundation’s ability to invest the money for optimum return,” says Sherry Guiles, the fund’s president. The relationship also frees these volunteers from the burden of running a nonprofit organization.

And it gives the scholarship fund a new donation pipeline. “We will be able to accept contributions sent through PayPal to the Community Foundation,” Guiles says. That makes it easier for Greene alumni across the country to lend support.

Donors often establish scholarships as lasting tributes to people in their lives. That’s true of Linda Brandt, who named the SPAN (Sonja, Phillip and Nicholas) Scholarship for her mother, Sonja Dunlavey, her stepfather, Phillip Dunlavey, and her uncle, Nicholas Sparaco.

“I wanted my loved ones to be remembered forever,” says Brandt, who used legacies from her mother and uncle to start the fund. “This was very important to me.”

SPAN will award $1,000 each year to a graduating senior from Oneonta High School. The scholarship is designed particularly for students who are interested in the arts or who are considering a military career.

Ward Walter worked with the Foundation in early 2013 to create the Marion C. Walter Nursing Scholarship Fund in memory of his late wife. In 2013, the Fund provided scholarships to nine high school seniors who planned to study nursing.

The Ruff Farms Memorial Scholarship also honors several beloved family members. Created by Jim Ruff, a Margaretville native now living in North Carolina, it will go to a graduating senior from Margaretville Central School who plans to pursue engineering, natural science, agriculture, forestry, environmental science or medicine.

The fund will initially award $4,000 annually.

The scholarship commemorates Howard and Florence, Francis and Marion, Floyd and Don Ruff, who ran a dairy and vegetable farm in New Kingston Valley. The family played an active role in Margaretville’s civic, religious and educational life.

“I know how much farming meant to them, and I know how much they loved the community,” Ruff says.

The fund also gives Ruff a way to provide an enduring gift to the Margaretville community, which was instrumental in establishing his life-long values, and to give back for his own education. “The best way to do that.” he says, “is to reward a deserving senior who aspires to a challenging education and career.”

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