Author: Lilli Cox

Patrick & Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund Awards $11,000 in Scholarships

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) DJAMES@STXFOUNDATION.ORG
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 27, 2018

The St. Croix Foundation is pleased to announce $11,000 in   scholarships awarded to three St. Croix graduates on Thursday, July 26 at St. Croix Foundation’s headquarters in Sunday Market Square through the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund.

The Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund was established by Junior Gaspard and his family in honor of his grandparents, Patrick and Amelia Williams, whose work ethic, determination, and expectation of excellence led to educational opportunities for multiple generations. The Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Scholarship’s goal is to provide opportunities to youth who have met obstacles but persevere despite these challenges and see educational pursuits as a means to achieving personal and professional success that can then be shared with the next generation.

The scholarships were awarded to the following students for enrichment opportunities ranging from culinary arts to nursing:

  • Shauniqua Wells, Monroe College, Major: Culinary Arts
  • Whitney Warner, Houston Community College, Major: Nursing
  • Joshua C. Parris, University of the Virgin Islands, Major: Criminal Justice.

Aimed at supporting students who have had to overcome obstacles to continue their education, particularly in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, students had to meet specific requirements that included being a graduate from a St. Croix public high school and junior high school, maintaining a GPA of 2.0 or higher, demonstrating financial need, and most importantly, submitting personal essays that spoke to the reality of their challenges and their journey to pursue their dreams. All recipients are required to submit reports to the Foundation.

Scholarship recipient Joshua Parris expressed his appreciation, stating that, “I am humbly honored by this scholarship award. After the hurricane, my family and I had to live in a tent for a while and all of my dreams seemed so far away.  But seeing where I am now, I know that not giving up has led me to a place of strength. I thank my father and my mother, Junior Gaspard and St. Croix Foundation for making it all a reality.”

A native of St. Croix and graduate of Central High School and John H. Woodson Junior High School himself, Gaspard and the rest of the Williams/Gaspard family wished to honor his grandparents in a meaningful way in the aftermath of the hurricanes of 2017.  Launching a named scholarship fund would allow for a longer lasting impact on the lives of students in the community and allow the lessons learned from his grandparents about resilience and perseverance to be passed on to the next generation of leaders.

According to St. Croix Foundation’s Executive Director, Deanna James, “The Foundation is firmly committed to supporting our young people through innovative and targeted grants and scholarships. In these challenging times, our organization is acutely sensitive to how critical the funds provided through our grants are for our youth. Junior Gaspard is currently our youngest philanthropist in our Donor Advised Fund portfolio, and his dedication to and engagement in addressing the needs of our students – needs he himself has witnessed – is inspiring.”

St. Croix Foundation extends its deepest appreciation to Junior Gaspard (and his family) for his partnership and philanthropic spirit as well as the Foundation’s Grants Review Committee

For more information on St. Croix Foundation, please visit its website at www.stxfoundation.org or call the Foundation directly at 773-9898.

 

St. Croix Foundation Hosting Board of Southern State Funders

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) DJAMES@STXFOUNDATION.ORG
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 10, 2018

The St. Croix Foundation is hosting a small delegation of Board members from the Southern Partners Fund from July 11th -15th. Southern Partners Fund is a 501(c)(3) public foundation serving grassroots organizations in rural communities across 12 states; Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Their visit to St. Croix serves to help the Foundation make a case for expanding SPF’s funding map to include the Territory.

As an extension of the Foundation’s Nonprofit consortium, which was launched in the summer of 2016 to build capacity and nurture dynamic collaborations among local nonprofits, SPF’s visit represents the 3rd philanthropic convening hosted by the Foundation over the past year.

With a commitment to “giving voice and opportunity to marginalized and underserved communities and families in the rural south, SPF’s mission is to support rural Southern communities and organizations seeking social, economic, and environmental justice by providing them with financial resources, technical assistance and training, and access to systems of information and power to shift the balance of power in their communities.”

Likewise, St. Croix Foundation has been committed to supporting local nonprofits, serving as a fiscal sponsor for over 200 nonprofit organizations and grassroots community projects over the past 27 years. More recently, the Foundation has deepened its commitment to building capacity and nurturing civic leadership within the nonprofit sector.  Since the hurricanes, the Foundation has awarded over $300,000 in strategic grants to local nonprofits through their CARE Fund, seeking to stabilize their civic sector so that vital nonprofit organizations can become powerful advocates and champions of social justice as well as an organized political power base.

During SPF’s visit, the Foundation will be convening intimate meetings with local nonprofit executives primarily those representing organizations committed to advocacy and social justice. SPF Board members will also conduct site visits to local nonprofits and will attend a slow down dinner at Ridge to Reef Farm entirely sourced by local farmers and fishermen to advance the Foundation’s commitment to supporting the St. Croix agricultural industry and advocacy for food sovereignty.

According to St. Croix Foundation Executive Director, Deanna James, “One of the primary goals of the Foundation moving forward is to expand opportunities to get the Territory ‘on the map’ and recognized as a relevant and legitimate funding priority for national funders.” “We fundamentally believe that one of the critical components of civil society is advocacy power. And as it currently stands far too many of our civic organizations are too dependent on government subsidies to exert the level of political power necessary to ensure social justice for the consistuents they serve and the missions they drive.” James continued.

The Foundation, through their Nonprofit Consortium, is working to elevate the efficacy and force of the nonprofit sector and in turn build a model for other communities’ recovery and sustainability efforts.

Toward that end, SPF has already made a commitment to support the work of St. Croix nonprofits through several grant awards in partnership with St. Croix Foundation. The shared history of social and economic oppression has been a compelling case and rationale for SPF exploring ways to deepen their engagement with the VI. They join St. Croix Foundation’s growing network of national philanthropic partners along with the Southeastern Council of Foundations which, in March, invited the Foundation to be the first organization outside the contiguous U.S. to join its 300 member foundation association.

In the upcoming weeks, the Foundation will be sponsoring additional convenings around the issues of civic leadership, collaboration and community vision building.

St. Croix Foundation extends its deepest appreciation to Southern Partners Fund, to St. Croix’s nonprofits who continue to provide vital services to our community, and to the many corporate, foundation, and individual contributors who make St. Croix Foundation Nonprofit Consortium and CARE Fund possible.

For more information on Foundation’s Nonprofit Consortium please visit www.stxfoundation.org or call the St. Croix Foundation at 340-773-9898.

St. Croix Foundation Releases Data Reports on Post-Hurricane Conditions

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) DJAMES@STXFOUNDATION.ORG
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 29, 2018

St. Croix, U.S.V.I. — St. Croix Foundation for Community Development is pleased to announce to the community the release of two reports that summarize the data collected in two surveys conducted post Hurricanes Irma and Maria: the Nonprofit Disaster Recovery and Capacity Assessment and the Individual and Household Needs Assessment.

The first report, A Nonprofit Disaster Recovery and Capacity Assessment Survey, was launched on the island of St. Croix three weeks after Hurricanes Irma and Maria in order to determine the immediate needs of local nonprofits. Because the Foundation had full internet connectivity and electricity the organization quickly became a hub for over 25 displaced nonprofit organizations and relief agencies for the next 100 days. Senior Program Officer, Lilli Cox commented that “Our work with St. Croix’s nonprofits has taught us that our civic sector plays a critical role in our community. After the storm, the Foundation witnessed countless nonprofit organizations mobilize to serve children and families, the elderly, and residents who had medical needs and who were unable to receive help from government agencies. We knew we needed data about the sector’s capacity to fulfill the increased demands for their services in order support them and get them fully functioning.”

The survey was conducted within the first 60 days and during that time, the Foundation polled 28 nonprofits; although responses were limited due to communication interruptions, the organization was able to direct resources to 60% of nonprofits that responded to the survey. Armed with data, the Foundation provided referrals to DEMA (the Danish Emergency Management Agency) for repairs and mitigation work to stabilize facilities, such as a blue roof for the Caribbean Center for Boys and Girls and flood mitigation work for the St. Croix Landmarks Society. The Foundation also secured grant funding, provided free office space, and made vital connections for nonprofits based on the first survey.

As efforts shifted from immediate relief to longer term recovery, the St. Croix Foundation launched a follow-up nonprofit survey asking in-depth questions to further understand the damages, losses, operational statuses, current needs, and more of local nonprofits. A total of 57 nonprofit organizations submitted surveys. The St. Croix Foundation is urging nonprofits to use this information as a tool to further capacity building and grant efforts, ultimately building a more resilient community. Cox stated, “This data has been invaluable in assisting the Foundation in knowing how to best support our nonprofits, how to be strategic with our grantmaking, how to advocate nationally for further support, and determining what technical or administrative assistance will have the most impact. It’s incredibly important to see the story, the people, behind the data.” The report provides data indicating that, 4.5 to 5.5 months after the storm, 73% of organizations polled were still operating on a limited basis or not at all yet almost 70% of organizations had seen an increase in demand for their services or programs.

Also released today is St. Croix Foundation’s second report summarizing results from the Foundation’s Individual and Household Needs Assessment Survey. In an effort to fill the void of data collection regarding highly impacted neighborhoods and individuals and to streamline the supply chain of hurricane relief supplies, the St. Croix Foundation developed a survey to inform immediate relief strategies.

To conduct the surveys, Foundation team members developed questions with input from community partners and then recruited and trained 50 volunteers to administer the survey with an emphasis placed on compassion, useful techniques, consistency in approach, and setting realistic expectations for residents about how the information being gathered would be used. Data was gathered using convenience sampling. Early on in the data collection phase of the project, volunteer surveyors were dispatched to community events where large groups of hurricane survivors would be gathered such as at free hurricane relief supply distribution events. Residents were typically approached for their voluntary participation in the survey while they were waiting in line. As data collection progressed, by early November shifts in recovery began to occur including an increase in power restoration, more residents returning to work, and fewer relief distribution events being held. At that time, SCF’s Disaster Resiliency and Recovery Coordinator reviewed the estates (neighborhoods) represented in the existing sample and strategically dispatched volunteers to locations to capture the needs of residents in areas that the Foundation knew to be hard hit but had been under-sampled or not sampled at all. In few instances volunteers were dispatched in teams for door-to-door outreach in targeted neighborhoods or housing complexes. An emphasis was placed on reaching low to moderate income residents to ensure their needs and perspectives would be represented in future conversations about recovery.

Responses were collected from over 1,000 individuals. Executive Director Deanna James stated that “The data from this report helped the Foundation to make over 350 referrals that resulted in residents receiving targeted public assistance. This information was vital and quickly helped the Foundation steer agencies in the right direction in terms of long term planning.”

St. Croix Foundation expresses deep gratitude to the partnering agencies that made both surveys possible. The vision could not have come to life without the support of volunteers and the community at large.

The Foundation’s two surveys and accompanying reports were funded through the St. Croix Foundation’s CARE Fund, which is supporting holistic recovery through a community-based approach to future development. In the early days after the hurricanes, the Foundation’s CARE Fund facilitated the shipment and distribution of hundreds of thousands of pounds of food, water, clothing, baby supplies and medical supplies and sponsored the shipment and security of over 117,847 pounds of critical relief supplies. Today, the Foundation is supporting St. Croix nonprofits through grantmaking, technical skill development, and advocacy as well as serving as the fiscal sponsor for hurricane recovery projects such as the St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group.

The CARE Fund which funded the data collection is made possible by countless local and national individuals, corporations, grassroots movements, and foundations such as the Kellogg Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, AARP Foundation, Limetree Bay Terminals and Crucian Gold among many other generous philanthropic partners who support the Foundation’s operations to ensure the sound development and administration of its own programs.

For more information on the St. Croix Foundation visit the Foundation’s website at www.stxfoundation.org or contact the St. Croix Foundation directly at 340-773-9898. Read the Nonprofit Disaster Recovery and Capacity Assessment Summary and the Individual and Household Needs Assessment Summary here.

Assured Guaranty Donates $25,000 to St. Croix Foundation

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) DJAMES@STXFOUNDATION.ORG

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 28, 2018

St. Croix, USVI– St. Croix Foundation for Community Development announces the receipt of a recent gift of $25,000 to the Foundation’s hurricane recovery CARE Fund from Assured Guaranty. The generous donation was presented to St. Croix Foundation Board Chair, Willard John and Board Member Shomari Moorehead at the Foundation’s SMS Office by representatives of Assured Guaranty on Tuesday, June 19.

Amanda Meehan and team members from Assured Guaranty present a generous donation to St. Croix Foundation’s Board Chair, Willard John and Board member Shomari Moorehead at the Foundation’s Office on Wednesday, June 20.

In recognition of St. Croix Foundation’s comprehensive hurricane recovery efforts, the award will support the Foundation’s CARE FUND, which has provided over half of a million dollars in financial support to numerous nonprofits on St. Croix.

As a 27-year-old place-based community foundation serving the Virgin Islands, St. Croix Foundation is committed to equity, resilience, and collaboration. St. Croix Foundation Executive Director, Deanna James, stated that “Contributions to our CARE Fund have special meaning to the Foundation because they affirm our unique brand of active philanthropy. Historically, conventional philanthropy’s response to disasters has been strictly financial. This type of unrestricted support to the CARE Fund allows the Foundation to continue advancing our comprehensive recovery agenda, which entails in depth data collection, nonprofit grantmaking, national philanthropic alliance-building and sustainable rebuilding. Assured Guaranty’s support inspires us even further.”

Through the CARE Fund, the Foundation has also provided grants to St. Croix’s vitally important nonprofit sector, which is filling some of the most critical service voids. Grants have been awarded from the Fund for 1) community-based programs that target the most vulnerable residents; 2) operational capacity in order to nurture greater self-sufficiency and resiliency; and 3) collaborative ventures that will diversify and ground the Virgin Islands’ economy in community.

According to Dominic Frederico, CEO and President of Assured Guaranty, “We are pleased to have selected the St. Croix Foundation for Community Development and the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands to partner with on USVI hurricane relief-related efforts. The relief work they are doing is important in helping the islands recover and thrive. The positive work, integrity and commitment that the people and the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands have been showing during the rebuilding process is encouraging for the long-term future of the islands.”

The Foundation would like to extend its deepest appreciation to Assured Guaranty for their generous gift – and all the community partners locally and nationally that continue to support rebuilding. For more information on the St. Croix Foundation’s CARE Fund, please contact the Foundation at 340-773-9898.

About Assured Guaranty
Assured Guaranty helps provide funding for public projects such as the construction of roads, bridges, hospitals and schools in cities and communities across the United States and its territories with the goal of helping municipal governments access funding for essential public projects at affordable interest rates. We have insured public financings of the U.S. Virgin Islands since 1997, helping to raise more than $500 million to fund electric power, water supply and other essential public infrastructure. Assured Guaranty Ltd. is a publicly traded (NYSE: AGO) Bermuda-based holding company. Its operating subsidiaries provide credit enhancement products to the U.S. and international public finance, infrastructure and structured finance markets. More information on Assured Guaranty Ltd. and its subsidiaries can be found at AssuredGuaranty.com.

Second Cycle of Foundation’s CARE Grant Opens June 18th

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) DJAMES@STXFOUNDATION.ORG
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 14, 2018

St. Croix, USVI- St. Croix Foundation for Community Development is pleased to announce the opening of the second cycle of its Hurricane Recovery CARE Grant, which will provide strategic grants to St. Croix-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations and charitable initiatives that offer programs and direct services targeting the most vulnerable and underserved populations affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

From June 18 to July 23, 2018, St. Croix Foundation will be accepting applications for projects that will support nonprofit organizations as they strive to return their operations to pre-hurricane conditions. Grants will target nonprofits that serve the most vulnerable populations and which were directly impacted by recent storms. The second cycle of the CARE Fund will award competitive grants that address needs directly related to hurricane victims/recovery in the following priority areas:

  • Existing services and/or programs
  • Capacity building to allow expansion of existing services
  • Reconstruction of facilities necessary for conducting programs that directly relates to needs of hurricane victims or recovery

Eligible applicants include 501 (c)3 nonprofit/civic organizations on St. Croix or those who are the sponsored project of a 501(c)3 organization. Projects must be completed within one year with a minimum budget of $1000. Priority is given to those organizations who are leveraging their work and resources for greater impact through collaboration with a partnering organization. The Foundation has also developed strict reporting guidelines to ensure the highest degree of accountability and focus in meeting outlined goals and timelines. All applications will be reviewed by St. Croix Foundation’s Grants Review Committee and final award decisions will be announced August 31, 2018.

Launched immediately following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the CARE (Caribbean Assistance and Relief Effort) Fund is providing direct support to front-line relief and long-term recovery efforts on St. Croix and throughout the US Virgin Islands. Grounded in a commitment to accountability, St. Croix Foundation is doing what they do best through the CARE Fund: supporting a holistic approach to community development while also ensuring real equity for St. Croix and resilience for our Territory.

In its first cycle in March of 2018, the Foundation’s CARE Grant awarded over $275,000 in grants to 16 nonprofit organizations. With 8 of 13 public schools on St. Croix having been condemned, the Foundation’s grants focused particularly on youth programs that are filling critical gaps for families and our young people. Grants ranging from $7,500 to $50,000 were awarded to the following organizations: AZ Academy’s Summer STEM Project, Caribbean Center for Boys & Girls -Fueling the Youth, Choices Basketball Association -Summer Training Camp, Christiansted Lighthouse Mission, CMCArts, Inc., Cruzan Cowgirls Horse Rescue, Frederiksted Health Care, Men’s Coalition -Developing Youth Resiliency, Onyx Opera, Music in Motion (at right) Good Hope Country Day School -Summer Theater Camp, St. Croix Walls Project, USVI Soccer Association, VI Perinatal, and World Ocean School. Additionally, focusing on sustainability, the Foundation has provided grants to Sejah Farms, the University of the Virgin Islands’ VI Literary Festival, Music in Motion, Caribbean Dance, Claude O. Markoe Elementary School, and the St. Patrick Alumni Association for its summer academic and steel pan program (in partnership with DIAM Management).

According to the Foundation’s Executive Director, Deanna James, The Virgin Islands has a long road of rebuilding ahead of us. And, as an operating foundation, St. Croix Foundation is utilizing a data driven approach to sustainable recovery by providing strategic grantmaking and direct services designed to leverage scarce community resources and ensure deep measurable outcomes.” “Taking into consideration the demographic realities of St. Croix, with higher poverty rates and fewer economic resources,” James continued, “St. Croix Foundation’s CARE Fund is supporting St. Croix nonprofits, targeting those that are filling critical social service gaps with fewer financial resources.”

CARE Grant Guidelines & Criteria as well as the online application can be found on the Foundation’s website at www.stxfoundation.org. The deadline for submitting grant proposals is July 23, 2018.

St. Croix Foundation wishes to extend its sincere gratitude to the countless national foundations, corporations and individual donors who have made the CARE Fund and these grants possible.

St. Croix Foundation invites Donors and community partners to contact the Foundation at 340.773.9898 or visit their website at www.stxfoundation.org for more information on how to support the Foundation’s rebuilding efforts through the CARE Fund.

St. Croix Foundation Joins Membership at Southeastern Council of Foundations

St. Croix Foundation for Community Development has been accepted as the first foundation outside of the US mainland to join the Southeastern Council of Foundations as official members! Joining SECF’s membership of 300 foundations in the southeast corridor enables us to advocate even more on behalf of all our St. Croix nonprofits. Our philanthropic family just grew and is already opening new doors of opportunities. Read the full interview between St. Croix Foundation’s Executive Director and Southeastern Council on Foundations here.

St. Croix Foundation Awards Over $275,000 in Hurricane Recovery Grants to Nonprofits

Contact: Deanna James, Executive Director
(Tel) 340.773.9898, (Email) djames@stxfoundation.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2018

St. Croix, USVI- St. Croix Foundation for Community Development is pleased to announce over $275,000 in grant awards to St. Croix nonprofits. As a critical component of its Hurricane Recovery CARE Fund, the Foundation is awarding strategic grants to support a holistic recovery for St. Croix. Recognizing the critical service gaps that St. Croix Nonprofits are filling with scarce philanthropic support and limited local governmental funding, grants were awarded to St. Croix-based nonprofit organizations and charitable initiatives that offer programs and direct services targeting the most vulnerable and under-served populations affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Projects with efforts that span from after-school programs to community revitalization initiatives were funded through this first cycle of grants.  Grants ranging from $7,500 to $50,000 were awarded to the following organizations: AZ STEM Project, Boys and Girls Caribbean Center of the Virgin Islands, Choices Basketball Camp, Christiansted Lighthouse Mission, Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts, Cruzan Cowgirls Horse Rescue, St. Croix Walls Project, Frederiksted Health Care, Men’s Coalition of the VI, Onyx Opera, Good Hope Country Day School’s Summer Theater Camp, USVI Soccer Association, VI Perinatal, and the St. Croix World Ocean School.

According to Executive Director, Deanna James, “St. Croix Foundation is committed to advancing a conversation around real equity in how investments are being made.” Emphasizing the importance of nonprofits in the Territory’s recovery efforts and in the philanthropic response to the disaster, James stated that “St. Croix Foundation has developed a set of standards and criteria which ensure that the most underfunded organizations are prioritized. It’s a formula the Foundation is advocating for from all policymakers and philanthropic entities.”

With 8 of 13 public schools closed on St. Croix, a compromised health care system, and 60% of blue roof tarps in the Territory located on St. Croix, priority was given to nonprofit organizations who are filling in vital gaps in health and human services, education, and the arts.  The St. Croix Foundation has also dedicated significant resources to nonprofits who are leveraging their work and resources for greater impact through collaboration with a partnering organization. Grantees will have to adhere to strict reporting guidelines to ensure the highest degree of accountability and focus in meeting outlined goals and timelines. Reporting is also strategically designed to allow the Foundation to collect further data on the nonprofit landscape and our community’s needs for services that, in turn, assists the Foundation in developing its own programmatic agenda including how to advocate for and assist nonprofits far beyond grantmaking.

Launched immediately following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the CARE (Caribbean Assistance and Relief Effort) Fund is providing direct support to both front-line relief and long-term recovery efforts on St. Croix and throughout the US Virgin Islands. Grounded in a commitment to accountability, through the CARE Fund St. Croix Foundation is doing what they do best: supporting a holistic approach to community development while also ensuring real equity for St. Croix and resilience for our Territory.

To date, the CARE Fund has coordinated and sponsored the shipment and distribution of approximately 250,000 pounds of relief aid; provided free temporary office space to over 15 NGOs displaced by Hurricane Maria including the Boys and Girls Club & the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council, who are now being permanently housed at the Foundation; conducted critical needs assessments and surveys of residents and nonprofits; and is also serving as the fiscal sponsor for the St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group (LTGR) at no fee.

St. Croix Foundation wishes to extend its sincere gratitude to the countless national foundations, corporations and individual donors who have made the CARE Fund and these grants possible, including W.K. Kellogg Foundation, JPB Foundation, AARP, Johnson & Johnson, Miami Foundation, and Newman’s Own Foundation; all of which awarded first time grants to the Territory to support St. Croix Foundation’s work and the Territory’s recovery.

St. Croix Foundation invites donors and community partners to contact the Foundation at 340.773.9898 or visit their website at www.stxfoundation.org for more information on how to support the Foundation’s rebuilding efforts and our CARE Fund.

Patrick & Amelia Williams Opportunity Scholarship Fund Opens for St. Croix Graduates

Contact: Deanna James, Executive Director
(tel) 340.773.9898, djames@stxfoundation.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ST. CROIX, U.S.V.I., April 23, 2018 – The St. Croix Foundation is pleased to announce the establishment of the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund for St. Croix youth. Geared towards providing opportunities for St. Croix students to pursue their career goals through colleges or universities, scholarships not to exceed $5000 will be awarded to successful applicants. All applications will be reviewed on the basis of residency, school attendance, and GPA.

Graduates from a St. Croix public high school who have also attended a public junior high school and reside on St. Croix are eligible to apply. All applicants must provide proof of acceptance to an accredited college or university and must indicate and maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher. Applications will be reviewed by the St. Croix Foundation Grants Review Committee and must be received no later than June 15 with awards announced by July 16.

The Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund was established by their grandson Junior Gaspard, a native of St. Croix and graduate of Central High School and John H Woodson Junior High School, who wishes to honor his grandparents. Gaspard saw hard work and determination embodied in his grandfather’s spirit when he moved the entire family to St. Croix from St. Vincent while his grandmother’s resilience as she dealt with being blind provided a road map to overcoming anything with strength and perseverance. He has seen firsthand the drive and ability St. Croix youth and knows many of them just need the resources to seize the opportunity of higher education. Gaspard said, “There are talented students at a variety of income and GPA levels and we wanted to create a scholarship for students across the spectrum.”

To reflect the spirit of Patrick and Amelia Williams, this scholarship Fund also gives priority to young people who are involved in meaningful community service and who participate in extra-curricular activities. The Fund acknowledges the challenges that many young people face in becoming more involved in civics, however, and invites students to demonstrate in essays the reality of their socioeconomic issues to allow the Review Committee to better assess applications.

After visiting the island in December post-Hurricane Maria, Gaspard wanted to do something that could have a long-term impact. Knowing the challenges high-school students face preparing for and getting resources for college in a post-hurricane environment, this seemed to be most impactful way to help. “I remember going to double sessions and doing homework by kerosene lantern after Hurricane Hugo,” said Gaspard. “If this helps a few students who can persevere to get and stay in college, it will be a success.”

The Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund will provide up to two scholarships a year with all scholarship recipients required to report on their successes and challenges throughout the year. This process will ensure that the Fund continues to meet current needs and to provide students with additional support if needed. Applications are due by June 15 and all applicants will be notified by July 16. The full application guidelines can be found on the Foundation’s website at www.stxfoundation.org. Applicants are encouraged to apply online; however, applications may also be mailed/delivered to St. Croix Foundation’s office at 1023 Market Street, Christiansted, VI 00820.

St. Croix Foundation wishes to extend its sincerest appreciation to Junior Gaspard, who is strategically giving back to the community and honoring those that provided him further opportunities that have led to his success! For more information about the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund, please visit the Foundation online or call at 340.773.9898.