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St. Croix Foundation & the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund Award $15,000 in Scholarships to St. Croix Students for 2021

(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) staff@STXFOUNDATION.ORG

St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands – St. Croix Foundation is pleased to announce $15,000 in scholarships awarded to three St. Croix graduates on Friday, July 23rd, at a virtual presentation at St. Croix Foundation (SCF) headquartered in Sunday Market Square. Scholarships were made possible through the fourth annual cycle for the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund and SCF’s Foundation Scholars Fund.

Three scholarships of $5,000 each were awarded through the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund and the Foundation Scholars Fund to support students who have faced and overcome inordinate challenges. This year’s scholarship recipients persevered despite extraordinary trials throughout their high school journey, including Category Five Hurricanes, a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, as well as the myriad of obstacles young people face today. Despite the trials, they also recognized that education is a pathway to achieving personal and professional success. Applicants were required to meet specific criteria that include being a high school graduate from St. Croix, maintaining a GPA of 2.0 or higher, demonstrating financial need, and more importantly, submitting personal essays and participating in a formal interview with the Foundation’s Scholarship Committee. Candidates were asked to speak to the reality of their challenges and journey to pursue their dreams. Awards were presented to the following students:

  • Abigail Valery, Temple University, Major: Music
  • Caliyah Helliger, Howard University, Major: Biochemistry
  • Sanaa Burke, University of Delaware, Major: Climatology/Meteorology

The Patrick & Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund was established in 2018 in the aftermath of Hurricanes Maria and Irma by Junior Gaspard, a St. Croix native and graduate of Central High School and John H. Woodson Junior High School. Wishing to honor his grandparents, Patrick and Amelia Williams, Gaspard and his family, alongside the St. Croix Foundation launched the Fund as a vehicle to achieve long-lasting, life-changing impact on the lives of students in the St. Croix community. Gaspard, who presents awards annually to scholarship recipients, stated that “The high level of achievement displayed by our award recipients as they navigated an academic year that was largely virtual, is a testament to their character and perseverance. My family and I are excited to support them as they begin this next chapter of their personal and academic journey.”

Also in attendance at the award presentation were members of the Gaspard family who provided counsel and motivation, telling awardees to “remember you bring the Virgin Islands with you wherever you go,” “We have future leaders here that we are supporting,” “We are part of your tribe and your village. We are here invested in you, in your success”, and from a grandson of Patrick and Amelia Williams, “This is a way to share who they [my grandparents] were, with you … Amelia and Patrick would be very proud.”

To date, the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund has provided a total of $47,000 in scholarships to 11 students who have had to overcome obstacles to continue their education, particularly in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria and now COVID-19. SCF is also pleased to report that all prior awardees are still pursuing their course of study and members of the Fund’s first cohort of awardees are now preparing to graduate. 2021 scholarship recipient Sanaa Burke, who hopes to shine a light on St. Croix and the Virgin Islands’ vulnerability to climate, expressed her appreciation, stating that “This scholarship will allow me to further my education while not having to extensively worry about where the funds to pay for tuition will come from. This has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders!”

According to St. Croix Foundation Program Officer, Jonathan Williams, “What we know about higher education is that it can provide students with viable pathways toward success. The reality for students in Black and Brown communities is that those opportunities often stay just out of reach. Our goal for the Williams Fund recipients is to provide them with an additional support system on their journey toward discovering their personal and professional path unencumbered. Each year as we work with students through the selection process, we are reminded of how necessary this fund remains.”

St. Croix Foundation extends its deepest appreciation to the Gaspard family for their partnership and philanthropic spirit as well as the Foundation’s Grants Review Committee for its engagement. The Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund welcomes gifts to allow for additional students to be provided the chance to pursue their education. St. Croix Foundation would also like to thank the DIAM Fund for its partnership and contributions to the Foundation Scholars Fund.

For more information about the Williams Opportunity Fund and how you can support this special scholarship opportunity and those like it for our young people, please contact St. Croix Foundation at 340-773-9898 or visit our website at to learn more.

Hurricane Rebuilding through Philanthropy & Community

Over the course of  several weeks, the St. Croix Foundation published a series on Philanthropy & Community. The purpose of the series was to urge our community to consider our collective future as the upcoming election draws near and we think about recovery. We explored some principles we believe are key drivers for healthy communities- Equity, Culture, Collaboration, Empowerment and Change. The publications can be viewed here.

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Inaugural Youth Forum

St. Croix Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council
Inaugural Youth Forum:
Turning Problems into Possibilities

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012
9am– 3pm
UVI Great Hall, St. Croix Campus

All educators, parents, youth and community stakeholders are all welcome!

Registration form available here:

Youth YAC forum registration form.

Adult YAC forum registration form.

Please fill it out and send back to

Continental Breakfast and lunch provided

Launch of Sprint to Excellence Grant Initiative for St. Croix Schools

The St. Croix Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of its Sprint To Excellence Grant Initiative which will provide targeted grants to public and small private and parochial schools on the island of St. Croix.

As an extension of the Foundation’s Model Schools Initiative, the Sprint to Excellence Grant Program will award competitive grants up to $10,000 for high impact, academic-based projects that serve to enhance student achievement. Schools will have an opportunity to apply for grants in the following priority areas:

1) Innovative Instruction and Professional Development

2) Literacy Enrichment and Assessment

3) Classroom Management & Discipline

4) Mentoring and Personal Development

Eligible schools include all public schools on St. Croix and small private or parochial schools that meet established eligibility requirements. The Foundation has also developed strict reporting guidelines and phased grant award disbursements to ensure the highest degree of accountability and focus in meeting outlined goals and timelines.

While much of the Foundation’s educational programming has focused on supporting our Community’s public schools, it is acutely sensitive to the dire financial straits that many of our small private schools are also facing. As such, it is the Foundation’s hope that the flexible funding offered through this Grant Initiative will assist teachers and principals throughout the District in accomplishing some of their school improvement goals.

With a focus on innovation, the Foundation hopes that this Initiative will spur models of educational excellence which can be shared and replicated amongst our schools for the benefit of all our students. The ultimate goal of the Sprint To Excellence Initiative is to help students leapfrog over longstanding achievement gaps which far too many of our schools are contending with.

According to the Foundation’s Chief Operations Officer, Deanna James, “the Virgin Islands has a long road ahead of us to ensure that every student in the Territory has access to the highest quality of educational opportunities- whether they are in private or public schools.” “As a means to that end, the Foundation is committed to providing innovative grant opportunities and to supporting our education partners in thinking outside of the box to raise student achievement,” James continued.

In the future the Foundation hopes to expand the Sprint To Excellence Initiative to include all schools throughout the Territory. For now however, only St. Croix schools are eligible to apply.

The Foundation wishes to extend special thanks to the donors who have made this program possible including Tropico Management, LP, Mustafa Mehmet Corporation, and the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust. They also wish to encourage Corporate and Individual Donors to contribute to the Sprint To Excellence Fund so that local funds can be pooled to provide larger, more high impact granting opportunities. Donors who are interested in supporting the Sprint To Excellence Initiative can call the St. Croix Foundation for more information, at 340-773-9898.