The Sharon M. Clemons "Butterflies" Fund Announces 2023 Scholarship Recipients

Awarded to eight young women planning to pursue post-secondary education at three prestigious HBCUs.

In Partnership with the CT HBCU Alumni Network, the "Butterflies" Fund at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven Announces 2023 Scholarship Recipients

July 19, 2023

New Haven, Conn. [July 19, 2023] - The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, the Sharon M. Clemons "Butterflies" Fund, and the CT HBCU Alumni Network co-hosted an announcement for this year's "Butterflies" Fund scholarship recipients. The Fund supports local students who are slated to attend four prestigious institutions, including three historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs): Smith College, Tuskegee University, Hampton University, and Spelman College.

Since its founding, the "Butterflies" Fund has granted 25 scholarships to women in their journeys to post-secondary education. This year, the fund is continuing this effort by awarding grants of $5K to eight young women attending the colleges and universities noted.

"The CT HBCU Alumni Network recognizes that its alumni entered their respective universities to learn and exited to serve," said CT HBCU Alumni Network President, Medria Blue-Ellis. "Our members serve the community by recruiting and supporting Connecticut youth as they commit to further developing themselves academically at historically Black colleges and universities. All our founding members have roots in the New Haven community, on which Sharon Clemons had such an impact. Thus it is our honor to help the Clemons family, whom we hold in the highest regard, pay homage to their wife and mother."

Established by Erik Clemons and their four daughters, the Sharon M. Clemons "Butterflies" Fund was set up to make grants to honor Sharon's life as an accomplished and compassionate human being, beloved wife and mother. Sharon died after a short battle with COVID-19 in 2020. The emphasis of the fund is to recommend grants that support scholarships for African American young women at the alma maters of Sharon's daughters.

"It is an absolute privilege for us to be in service to the Clemons family each year as they honor the memory and legacy of their beloved wife and mother with scholarships through the Sharon Clemons 'Butterflies' Fund," says Erica G. Bradley, Manager of Community Philanthropy. "There can be no greater expression of love and admiration for what they have received from these institutions than to pass that legacy on to others. To do so in the name of their beloved wife and mother is the ultimate expression of honoring her memory. The impact of this family’s generosity and that these young scholars will continue to make in our community and society is immeasurable. These gestures will live on for years and years to come."

According to the Fund, Sharon instilled in her daughters the importance of education, kindness to others and being beautiful inside and out.

"My education prepared me for life in so many ways, but that pales in comparison to the values my mother instilled in each of us," said Nyle Clemons, an alumna of Tuskegee University. "After her passing, we took it as our imperative to ensure that young women with a passion for knowledge have the tools they need to succeed and a community backing them every step of the way. This scholarship is the fruit of the combined efforts of our family as a commitment to my mother's enduring memory and dedication to the young women, and soon-to-be, future leaders of New Haven."

The 2023 recipients are as follows:

  • Autymn Brown, Spelman College, Sophomore, Education/Theatre
  • Zyanna Cox, Hampton University, Sophomore, Business Administration
  • Alina Bajomo, Hampton University, Freshman, Pre-Law
  • Tiara Walters, Spelman College, Freshman, Elementary Education
  • Nicole May, Tuskegee University, Freshman, Food Science
  • Maci Lynette Moore, Hampton University, Freshman, Political Science, English
  • Kendra Hill, Hampton University, Business Management
  • Ashlyn Mallard, Hampton University, Human Resources