The newest recipients of a $1.6 million annual college scholarship program were honored by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving this week at the Greater Hartford Arts Academy's Theater for the Performing Arts. These students received new scholarships to attend two-year and four-year schools across the nation.
More than 150 scholarship recipients and their families attended the celebration where scholarship donors also had the opportunity to meet the students they are supporting. Ellington sisters, Emily Breen (Northeastern University), Erin Breen (Stonehill College) and Kristen Breen (Western New England University) shared their reflections as Hartford Foundation scholarship recipients and 2019 college graduates.
In his welcoming address, Hartford Foundation President Jay Williams acknowledged that while the Foundation has provided thousands of scholarships over the past 74 years, the Foundation recognizes the need to do much more.
"We know that our region has disparities affected by race, income and ZIP code that are persistent and widening, and that these disparities affect opportunity," Williams said. "All our children should have access to education and vocational supports needed to launch their careers. That is why the Foundation is working to better understand our scholarship program by reexamining the needs of the students and families in Greater Hartford. This work will allow the Foundation to harness more of our resources and promote a best-in-class program."
The Hartford Foundation's investment in its scholarship program is a major component of the organization's strategic focus on education and skill attainment. Williams discussed current efforts to increase the program's impact by linking scholarships to other investments in postsecondary attainment, refreshing the program based on best practices and collaborations with the nonprofit, public and private stakeholders that are working with youth in Hartford. The organization's research and evaluation efforts will help us to understand the impact of our scholarship and complimentary investments in college and career attainment going forward.
Many of the Hartford Foundation's current scholarships are renewable, allowing students the opportunity to receive support for each of their years in college. Many of the scholarships offer significant support with awards of $3,000 per year, which students may use for tuition, fees and on-campus room and board. Scholarships are awarded through the General Scholarship Endowment Fund and 135 funds have been created at the Hartford Foundation by individuals, families and organizations. The Foundation matches recipients with the donor's criteria.
Opening remarks: Jay Williams
Keynote speech: Emily, Erin and Kristen Breen
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $758 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.