Project One Scholarship Fund, a Charlotte-based nonprofit dedicated to expanding college education to children from low-income, single-parent families, is accepting applications from high school seniors planning to enter college this fall. And for the first time, the application process is open to all qualified students within Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
Applications are being accepted from mid-January through March 15. To download a copy of the application, visit projectonescholarshipfund.org.
In years past, Project One relied on guidance counselors at Garinger, West Mecklenburg, West Charlotte, Phillip O. Berry and Olympic high schools to recommend candidates, said Neal Emmons, Project One founder and executive director. That, in effect, pre-filtered the application process.
While the previous minimum GPA for applicants has been 2.5, past scholarship recipients have had a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Emmons and the board of directors decided to raise the minimum GPA to 3.0. But GPA isn’t all Emmons and team look at. “We’re looking for motivated, talented students who have the drive to succeed,” he said. “We’re also seeking students with leadership qualities. We can gauge that by their involvement – whether in sports, community service, student government and/or work.”
Applications are reviewed by a panel of board members, donors and other supporters. Due to the expanding application pool this year, Emmons said they will narrow the field to about 12 finalists for the final review process. His 2016 goal: Award five new four-year scholarships.
The cost of attending a four-year N.C. public university – including tuition, room, board and books – averages about $20,000 a year. That’s out of reach for many. Project One scholars help fund their educations through summer jobs, and most work during the school year, as well.
Emmons’ interest in helping at-risk students stems from a personal place: “Having been raised by a single mother – and because my life was profoundly changed through the kindness of others – I left a long career in investments to pursue my dream of helping change the lives of other children from single-parent families.”
Project One offers scholarships to students who are Mecklenburg County residents planning to attend a N.C. state-supported college or university and have a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher. Recipients must demonstrate initiative and have a family whose income is at or below 200 percent of poverty rate. The student is required to apply for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Project One Scholarship Fund Needs Mentors
Project One Scholarship Fund, a Charlotte-based nonprofit dedicated to expanding college education to students of low-income, single-parent families, is helping 13 scholars go to college this fall, with two on track to graduate in 2016.
Project One offers scholarships to Mecklenburg County students who:
• Are planning to attend a N.C. state-supported college/university
• Have a high school GPA of 2.5 or higher
• Demonstrate initiative
• Are from a family in which the household income is at or below 200 percent of poverty rate
• Scholarship recipients are required to apply for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
POSF founder Neal Emmons’ interest in helping at-risk students comes from a deeply personal place. “Having been raised by a single mother – and because my life was profoundly changed through the kindness of others – I left a career in investments to pursue my dream of helping change the lives of other children from single-parent families,” he says.
In addition to providing financial support, POSF pairs each scholar with a professional mentor who commits to helping a student discover and hone attributes as their journey out of poverty.
Some POSF mentors know first hand the power of the mentoring dynamic, and are thankful for the opportunity to pay that forward. “I have been a mentee as both a student and professional,” says Dr. Eduardo Haynes, POSF board chair. “The impact is unspeakable because my mentors have given me nuggets of wisdom that will never leave me.“
POSF mentors must meet the following criteria:
• Employed professional
• At least 25 years old
• Willing to commit a minimum of one hour a month to check in by phone/in person with your scholar
“I have been able to grow with my current mentee and consider a different perspective when it comes to making decisions,” Haynes says. “I was surprised by how quickly my mentee and I developed a connection. He has requested that I be his mentor until he graduates.”
Interested in becoming a Project One Scholarship Fund mentor? Email firstname.lastname@example.org