Deborah A. Highsmith Memorial Scholarship Fund

Deborah Highsmith's family wanted to celebrate her life as a caring and dedicated person. In her memory, a scholarship fund was established for New Haven students.

Deborah Highsmith.
Carlton Highsmith with daughters Alexis and Jennifer.

When Deborah Highsmith passed away in 1991, her husband, Carlton, honored her memory by creating several scholarship funds in her name. In establishing scholarships at institutions with which Deborah was affiliated, Carlton hoped to ensure that future generations would help to carry out her deep commitment to educate children with special needs. Upon the advice of their attorney, the family established one fund at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven instead of creating a private foundation.

An incredibly brilliant and caring person, Deborah was a supervisor of special education in the New Haven school system for 15 years. She was committed to ensuring that teachers utilized the appropriate resources and methods to assist children with speech and hearing difficulties. Deborah was not only devoted to her profession, but she also enjoyed volunteering at her church—Dixwell Avenue United Church of Christ—and helping those who were most vulnerable, such as children and people living with physical disabilities.

For Carlton Highsmith, charitable giving gives him an opportunity to express his appreciation to others who helped him along the way. He credits his grandfather, a North Carolina farmer, as being his role model: "My grandfather was an extremely generous person. He would help anyone who needed his assistance."

The Highsmith children also learned the value of helping others. Many summers during her high school years, Alexis could be found volunteering on the New Haven Green for a local day camp. As the captain of the Duke University soccer team, she also coached and taught soccer to inner-city youth. Alexis is a now a practicing attorney. Jennifer also continued the family tradition of giving back. Prior to graduating from Northwestern University, she tutored students, participated in various fundraising activities, and volunteered at a pediatric AIDS program. Deborah's daughters are pleased that their mother's scholarship fund is honoring her life and will help students achieve their dreams for generations to come.

Since it was created, the memorial scholarship fund has distributed $35,000 to help local students go to college.

Like the Highsmith family, you can create a lasting legacy through a permanent endowment that benefits your community forever. To speak with someone about your charitable fund options, please email Sharon or call 203-777-7071.

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Deborah A. Highsmith Memorial Scholarship Fund