Foundation Opens 3rd Scholarship Cycle for the Patrick & Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, PRESIDENT
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) STAFF@STXFOUNDATION.ORG
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 1, 2020

St. Croix, U.S.V.I., April 1, 2020 – St. Croix Foundation is pleased to announce that the third cycle of the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund for St. Croix youth will open on April 1, 2020. 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 (current and within the past four years) that 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 May 15, 2020. The Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund was established in 2018 by Junior Gaspard, a native of St. Croix and graduate of Central High School and John H. Woodson Junior High School, who wished to honor his grandparents, Patrick and Amelia Williams. The Williams’ hard work, determination, and resilience is a legacy that Junior Gaspard and his family are committed to passing down to further generations, providing opportunities for St. Croix youth to overcome any obstacle with strength and perseverance.

After visiting St. Croix post-Hurricanes Maria and Irma, 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 the most impactful way to help. In 2020, in today’s context of a global pandemic, Gaspard stated, “The current upheaval in our world is a reminder of how important it is to be adaptable and resilient. Virgin Islanders have shown both of these traits in abundance in bouncing back from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. I’m confident that our award recipients will exhibit those same traits and persevere in the current uncertain times to achieve continued success in their academic careers.” Gaspard has seen firsthand the drive and ability of St. Croix’s youth and knows many of them just need the resources to seize the opportunity of higher education. Today, the Gaspard family is building awareness and mobilizing community both on and off the island to increase opportunities and availability of resources for more local youth.

To date, the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund has awarded five St. Croix students scholarships totaling over $20,000 to defray tuition expenses for awardees to attend Monroe College, Houston Community College, the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Agnes College, and more. Additionally, St. Croix Foundation has tapped students from the first cycle to receive micro-scholarships as continued support and has provided a sixth student with a scholarship to pursue a degree in the culinary arts. President of St. Croix Foundation, Deanna James, stated, “The Foundation is so deeply honored to be in Partnership with the donors of this scholarship fund because they truly embody the spirit of philanthropy. As one of our youngest and only Crucian Donors, Junior Gaspard (and his family) has been intimately involved in the development and administration of this Fund, demonstrating a true commitment to the future of our Community.”

In reflection of the spirit of Patrick and Amelia Williams, the 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.

The Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund will provide up to two (2) 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. The full application and guidelines can be found on the Foundation’s website at www.stxfoundation.org. All applications are due May 15; applicants may submit via email at lcox@stxfoundation.org or mail hard copies to St. Croix Foundation’s office at PO BOX 1128, Christiansted, VI 00821. Hard-copy applications must be postmarked by May 15. All applicants will be informed of decisions by June 15.

St. Croix Foundation recognizes that while times may be uncertain, students are encouraged to begin the application process today. If challenges or questions arise regarding completing the application and/or obtaining required documents, staff is available to assist at lcox@stxfoundation.org.

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

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