As 2013 approached, at Pride Foundation we happily anticipated the concurrent arrival of the 20th Anniversary of our scholarship program. Sparked by the legacy gift of Brian Day whose highest passion was making education accessible for LGBTQ students of color, Pride Foundation initially set out to honor his wishes and pay tribute to his life and vision. We soon realized that providing essential financial resources and community support to LGBTQ and allied students of all ages and areas of study across the Northwest was just as much a point of hope and commitment for Pride Foundation.
In the time since, Pride Foundation has provided nearly 2,000 scholarships to more than 700 students totaling over $3,000,000. This year a record $400,000 was awarded to 89 students pursuing an educational dream.
This milestone year also motivated us to expand the celebration beyond Seattle and host receptions across the region. From early May to early June, Pride Foundation gathered scholars, their friends and family, donors, volunteers, elected officials, and volunteers in Anchorage, Boise, Missoula, Portland, Seattle, and Spokane. Nearly 750 people were able to join in the celebration and stand in solidarity with students of great potential, creativity, and courage.
Universally, donors, volunteers and friends alike were thrilled to have a chance to meet, celebrate, and encourage the Pride Foundation scholars that are close to home. Folks hugged and swapped the tales of their lives. There was a tangible awareness that while the LGBTQ community has gained so many profound victories in recent years, the opportunity to say “yes” to the dreams of one person who will lead a bright and vibrant future is deeply transformational for all.
The Pride Foundation Scholarship Program is a beacon of hope. One 2013 scholar whispered to me: “Thank you so much for bringing the party to my own backyard. This room, this community has saved my life, inspired me to see myself as a leader. It was really important and necessary for me to offer my gratitude directly. I am so honored and I really wanted to say thank you to my community. I really appreciate Pride Foundation doing this!”
As we move in to our 21st year of the Scholarship Program, Pride Foundation is so very thankful for Brian and for the 1,000s of volunteers and donors who have shown generosity and devotion to this program and our students over so many years. We simply could not have come this far without such inspiring teamwork—thank you! We look forward to celebrating with you again in 2014!
You can view more photos of our Scholars and the celebrations on our Facebook.
Jody is Pride Foundation’s Director of Community Giving. Email Jody.