Upcoming March 20th Fundraiser Plays A Crucial Role
As college fees continue to grow faster than inflation, it’s no surprise that some families, even in communities like Chappaqua, will struggle to afford the hefty price tags. What sets Chappaqua apart, though, is a beloved community resource that since 1946 has been there to help many students bridge the gap between what their families can afford, aid provided by other sources such as colleges and universities themselves, and the price they actually are required to pay: the Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund.
“I grew up in a single-mom household and my mom didn’t have much money at all,” Horace Greeley grad Andrew Santana said. “I thought college wasn’t even an option for me. (The fund) really gave me more than money–they gave me hope.”
Today, after graduating from SUNY Geneseo and law school at the University of Dayton, Santana practices civil litigation and criminal law in Cincinnati. This spring the benefit for the Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund will be held at Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase on March 20, and Linda and Ed Bosco, as well as Patrick Dougherty, will be honored. The Boscos will receive the Taylor Family Award, and Dougherty will receive, unfortunately posthumously, the Ed Habermann Award.
Last year, the benefit leadership committee raised more than $140,000. “Every year we have a benefit and we’re expecting over 350 friends and neighbors,” Scottie Guerney, president of the board of the HGSF, said, describing the honorees as having “really stood out in their gifts of service to the community. They are really incredible.”
Last year, the fund awarded more than $300,000 to students who had financial need beyond what financial aid and scholarships supplied. “And there was still need to be met,” Guerney said.
Besides the benefit, the fund has a few other ways it accumulates money. SHARE, the major student community service organization at Horace Greeley High School, runs an annual spelling bee and donates the proceeds. There’s also a game night in the fall. “It’s much smaller but to us everything counts,” Guerney said.
Publicizing the Scholarship to Students
Rebecca Mullen, chair of the counseling department at Horace Greeley High School, said her department makes sure students and families know about the HGSF in a variety of ways, beginning in ninth grade. “Families become aware of it as soon as they get to Greeley,” Mullen said. “The counseling department is very supportive of the scholarship fund and we work very closely with it – we love working with the parents that organize the fund.”
At the annual Night Meetings held for each grade, a representative from the fund will make a 2-3 minute presentation. Additionally, the fund is highlighted in the counseling department’s newsletter, Guide Lines. Then, when juniors and their families come in for meetings to discuss the college process, once again they are told about the fund and when appropriate, encouraged to apply.
Of course, Mullen said she doesn’t know which students become recipients of the HGSF unless they choose to share that information with her. The process and distributions are entirely confidential. “We have as a subset of our fund a small and entirely confidential grants committee,” Guerney said. The committee works with an expert in college financial aid.
Guerney previously served two years as board vice president and several years before that as a member of the 27-person board. Currently, her own children attend Bell and Grafflin. Guerney joined the board after meeting a member of the board of education who suggested it. “He said he thought I’d really connect well and be interested in the scholarship fund,” Guerney said, adding that she has a background in teaching.
“We’d love to meet the need for everyone, so every Greeley grad can obtain a college education,” Guerney said. “We are big proponents of the scholarship fund because we’ve seen it be life-changing for students,” Mullen said. “It really is an amazing resource that makes Greeley very special.”
Guerney notes that the recipients of the fund have said it has really changed their lives. “It’s amazing how generous our community is,” Guerney said. “And the generosity of the community has made them want to pay that forward and that’s a beautiful sentiment.”
“Given the option to attend college – your future is a world apart what it could have been,” Santana said. “People think of Chappaqua as a place where people have money. They don’t realize that a lot of people, without the Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund, just would not be able to attend college.”