Scholarship Fund for Courage, Opportunity, Vitality Innovation, and Drive

Est. 2020 by Mareshah White.

Photo courtesy of Mareshah White

Hamden student creates scholarship fund for classmates at The Community Foundation thanks to AT&T grant

$15,000 contribution from AT&T helps establish a scholarship fund to benefit Hamden High School students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

July 23, 2020 (New Haven, Conn.) – The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven has been awarded a $15,000 contribution from AT&T to support a scholarship fund for Hamden High School students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Scholarships will be given to 150 graduating seniors to assist in their pursuit of college and career goals.

“In times such as these when families are experiencing unprecedented losses, it is inspiring to see leadership and compassion coming from our local youth, and to see the corporate sector rising to support the efforts of this next generation of philanthropists,” said Community Foundation Vice President of Grantmaking & Scholarships Sarah Fabish.

“This ingenious scholarship program conceived by Mareshah White will have an immediate impact by providing assistance to graduating Hamden seniors so they can offset some of the costs of pursuing a college education. I am not surprised that, when we asked, AT&T immediately stepped up to help launch it. AT&T has always been a terrific partner for the town and its students, most recently providing expanded free wifi for remote learning and now helping graduating seniors go to college. We look forward to the success and expansion of this scholarship program and continued partnerships with AT&T in the future,” said State Representative Michael D’Agostino.

The scholarship originated with local Hamden High School senior Mareshah White. White recognized that high school seniors have forgone many normalcies during the pandemic, including proms, graduation ceremonies, and now summer employment that many young people rely on to support their post-secondary education goals.

“High school seniors all over the world have lost their prom, graduation and are now facing uncertainty about how their first semester of college will unfold,” said White. “I think we can help change that, starting here in Hamden. The proceeds from these scholarships will guarantee help for students who are at a financial disadvantage and plan on attending a four-year institution, community college, or a vocational school. Every little bit helps.”

White connected with The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, who helped her create the Scholarship Fund for Courage, Opportunity, Vitality Innovation, and Drive. AT&T donated the initial $15,000 to launch the scholarship.

“AT&T aims to identify programs that are making real differences in the lives of local students, and this scholarship program is a unique and innovative example,” said John Emra, president, AT&T Connecticut. “Ms. White’s creativity and determination is inspirational. Along with the Community Foundation, they are impacting a great number of young people with small kindnesses and bringing helpful resources to those who need them most. The effort to prepare and support students in pursuit of their college goals is critical, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are very proud to offer our support.”

White and The Foundation wanted to reach the greatest number of students possible with this first donation from AT&T. They determined the scholarship funding would be divided among 150 Hamden High graduating seniors, who were chosen through an application and review process. The application included an opportunity to demonstrate the impact COVID-19 has had on their continuing education as well as how the funds will make a meaningful impact.

But White is not stopping there. She and The Foundation are continuing to advocate for further corporate donations so that they can raise enough money to provide all 396 Hamden High graduating seniors with scholarship funding. The Foundation has set up a webpage that individuals and companies can visit to make a donation, which can be found here

Mareshah’s actions in conceptualizing this scholarship, and then working with a broad range of partners to see it through, has been a selfless act to support those who have been impacted financially, academically, and emotionally by COVID-19 broadly and the school closure specifically. She exemplifies the Dragon Pride of our school family. This scholarship will help defray the cost of college expenses for more than a hundred of her peers, lessening the burden in this most tumultuous time,” said Hamden High Coordinator of Counseling and Career Pathways Daniel Cocchiola.

The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven is a philanthropic institution that was established in 1928 as the community's permanent charitable endowment. For more than three generations, thousands of donors have built our community endowment by establishing permanent funds or making gifts to existing funds that distribute grants to a broad variety of issues and organizations. These donors, past and present, make their gifts to ensure that programs and causes that matter most to them will be supported today and forever. The Community Foundation is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the United States and remains the largest grantmaker in a twenty-town region located in the heart of central Connecticut. The Community Foundation is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)3 organization.

Media Contact:

Communications Department

Scholarship Inquiries:

Dan Cocchiola
Coordinator of Counseling and Career Pathways for Hamden Public Schools