Geraldine Cole clearly remembers the moment she decided to get involved with Pride Foundation more than 20 years ago.
While walking along a beach in Hawaii, she had time to reflect upon what really mattered in her life—and it was then she realized that it was her family and her LGBTQ community that had inspired her and from whom she drew courage.
Upon returning from her vacation, she called then Executive Director, Ted Lord, to talk about joining Pride Foundation’s Board of Directors. She soon found herself enmeshed in the work of the Foundation, doing all she could—from drafting organizational policies to serving as Treasurer.
It was also during Geraldine’s time on the Board when Pride Foundation’s scholarship program was first established with the Brian M. Day Scholarship in 1993. Inspired by this avenue of support for the LGBTQ community, she decided to start her own scholarship fund, the Cole Family Scholarship.
Sitting in a café with Geraldine close to 25 years later, she is modest about the impact of her role in Pride Foundation’s history and her legacy in creating the first and still one of the only scholarships in the country specifically dedicated to supporting youth with LGBTQ parents.
“It’s not about me,” she states; “It’s about family. It’s about community.”
When Geraldine raised her own daughter in the 70s and 80s, no such supports existed, and she wanted to help create a space that honored and recognized the unique lives of children of LGBTQ parents. As Geraldine witnessed firsthand, these kids were part of the queer community from childhood, and many struggled in their own ways with “coming out” about their families.
Geraldine and her daughter have funded the Cole Family Scholarship for more than twenty years and plan to continue their philanthropy to help bring visibility and support to these students. Though times have changed, kids with LGBTQ parents continue to experience marginalization, and the Cole Family Scholarship fund remains as relevant as ever for students across the Northwest.
The Pride Foundation scholarship application opens to students on October 10, 2016. Through just one application, LGBTQ and ally students are entered into consideration for more than 50 scholarships that award over $400,000 each year.