OLYMPIA – In April, The Evergreen State College Foundation announced ambitions to raise $300,000 through the Art of Giving to fuel the Evergreen Scholarship fund.
After a four-week scholarship drive followed by, for the first time since 2019, an in-person gala event, the total amount of money raised far exceeded its original goal. The total amount earned during this year’s scholarship drive was $433,251.00.
For students like this year’s Art of Giving, keynote speaker, EL’ona Kearney, 22’, the dollars donated contribute to a scholarship that renews and increases as recipients get closer to graduating. Kearney is a recipient of the Foundation Scholarship and the American Legion Scholarship as well.
Kearney who is an Army veteran and mother of two, put her education on hold to see her children through school. It was after they had graduated and began attended college themselves, that she decided to go back to school and received her AA in Business Administration. The director of learning resource and career center, Ty Somerville, who happened to be an Evergreen alumnus, asked her why she was not continuing her education to get her bachelor’s degree and encouraged her to look into attending The Evergreen State College.
“Having these scholarships is not just the alleviation of financial pressures or freeing up my time to just focus on school,” Kearney explained. “It is also the continued love and support I need, that in fact we all need, to succeed and know that we have a purpose.”
During her time at Evergreen, Kearney has become an advocate for parents who want to attend school but face challenges around childcare. She wrote and presented a policy titled, “Student Veteran Childcare Vouchers, which allows students to use childcare funding to pay a family member, friend or neighbor to provide childcare. The policy she developed helped earn her the Student Veteran’s Fellowship 2021 and is now being sponsored by two members of congress who hope to turn this policy into legislation.
The Evergreen State College Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to building an outstanding future for The Evergreen State College. To learn how you can make a difference with a gift to the Evergreen Scholarship Fund on its webpage.