Fund helps students attend VGCC

Jun. 27, 2014 @ 05:49 PM

The endowment fund continues to grow at Vance-Granville Community College.

At the 30th annual Vance-Granville golf tournament this year, sponsors raised more than $50,000, breaking last year’s record of about $30,000.

During a banquet in February, students received 339 scholarships totaling $205,000­­­, the most awarded through endowment funds ever, according to endowment fund director Eddie Ferguson.

“The year has been busy for us already,” he said.

He said donors recognize the importance of VGCC and are more involved this year. Many use their contributions to honor loved ones or prominent members of the community.

More than 300 scholarships have been established over the last 40 years, but their donations are never spent, Ferguson said.

Instead, the money is invested, or endowed. Only about five percent of the earnings on donations translate into the scholarships.

“That is the promise we make to our donors,” he said. “And that’s pretty much standard at any college.”

Donors must contribute:

• $10,000 to start an Academic Achievement Scholarship of up to $500;

• $15,000 to initiate the Presidential Merit Awards Scholarship of up to $750; or

• $25,000 for the Presidential Scholar Award Scholarship of up to $1,250.

The percentages and base contributions are adjusted every year to accommodate fluctuations in the stock market.

Donor Lelia Brigham, who has taught art classes at VGCC for more than 45 years, will establish her sixth scholarship in the coming months. She set up her first endowment in 2002 to honor her late husband and since has given money to honor many of his friends.

“The more I give it away, the more it comes to me,” she said.

Scholarships are awarded based on merit. Students must have at least a 2.5 grade point average to qualify.

Theresa Chiplis, Student Government Association president, said she loved the endowment fund’s system because it makes scholarships accessible to anyone who can meet the standard.

“I am taking 15-plus hours, and the scholarships really help me,” she said. “Without the scholarships, I would not be able to be in college.”

Ferguson said staff has started planning fall fundraisers to accompany the spring golf tournament.

“We will continue to tell friends in the community the value of our college, and hopefully more and more business will recognize that value and want to partner with us,” he said.

Anyone that wants to donate can contact Ferguson at (252) 738-3264 or Kay Currin, endowment specialist, at (252) 738-3409.

 

Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.