This year, Pride Foundation will give out the most it has ever awarded in scholarships to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ), and straight ally students. Ninety-four scholars either from or studying in the U.S. Northwest states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington, will receive a combined $400,000 from Pride Foundation’s scholarship program — one of the largest LGBTQ scholarship programs in the United States.
Scholars from around the Northwest will join donors, volunteers, and Pride Foundation staff for the 2012 Scholarship Celebration Breakfast on Saturday, May 19 at the Red Lion Hotel (1415 Fifth Avenue) in downtown Seattle.
“Becoming a Pride Foundation Scholar will be a stepping stone and will provide assurance that I will achieve my educational goals,” says Moses Lake, WA student Julian Chavez-Gamez, who plans on studying Social Welfare or Psychology in the University of Washington in the fall. “It will also demonstrate to me and others that hard work and perseverance do have their rewards.”
Pride Foundation’s Scholarship program began in 1993. Since then, it has awarded almost $3 million dollars to 1200 students. Scholarship awards support LGBTQ and straight ally students who have shown leadership to advance the LGBTQ community. The scholarships are intended to support various programs—2 year degrees, 4 year degrees, vocational programs and graduate studies, to students of all ages.
“Pride Foundation scholarships represent what is best in our LGBTQ community—perseverance, hope, and generosity,” says Anthony Papini, Director of Educational Leadership at Pride Foundation.
“LGBTQ students often face additional barriers in pursuing their education and career goals. Our scholarship donors want to ensure these students—including straight ally students—have the opportunity to achieve their dreams,” adds Papini. “We, as a community, are supporting students at a critical moment in their lives so that they can positively impact their local communities and career fields.”
Karter Booher, a transgender scholar raised in Anchorage, AK and currently attending Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA adds:
“I am becoming a more independent person, more sure of who I am. I am becoming the man I am supposed to be. In understanding my gender identity I have become more invested in myself. I am taking control of my life and where I am headed. Sometimes it hurts, and there is a common, human, struggle in that – especially within the queer community – but I am becoming. I am headed somewhere and I am incredibly excited about that direction.”