Providing opportunity always seemed to me like a good way to make a difference. The Declaration of Independence promises the opportunity for happiness. For fourteen years I have offered a scholarship program to help women to reach their dreams.
I got older and began to wonder what would happen after I was gone. I like the programs Head Start provides to children. It is open to children who normally would not have access to quality pre-school training. Here in Howard County, Head Start is managed by Community Action Council (CAC). CAC takes the program further by offering to assist whole families for up to five years with skill development, housing, financial planning, and a small scholarship for education. We teamed up and now they can offer assistance to single parents the opportunity to reach their dreams. By my endowing my program, I know it will continue for many years beyond my life… a legacy.
Recently I have thought of all the people who helped make that to happen. There was my cousin, a long time philanthropist who introduced me to the concept of giving. Then the Women’s Giving Circle in Los Altos, CA, funding huge programs for their Latino population. And all the people working for Southwest Airlines who kept my airplane in the air so I could design my program. To field test it, Cradlerock Children’s Center allowed me to send flyers home with their children, gave space, and helped interview candidates. Many people I don’t know helped spread word of the opportunity to receive 58 scholarships over twelve years toward dreams of moving forward, their dreams, not mine. Now all the wonderful teachers and staff of CAC carry on.
My attorney, my broker, and my accountant helped guide me to a vehicle that would manage an endowment. My neighbor Lillian connected me to Community Action Center. Their staff help identify candidates for more grants to make their dreams possible. It isn’t MY program. It belongs to many, many people. I am just one. I found my dream, but it took more than a village to make it come true. Making a difference takes many more than just me, way more than a village. To everyone who had a part in this, thank you. For everyone, together we can and do make a difference.