"They are the next generation of leaders both in and outside of the New River Valley," says Jessica Wirgau, CEO of the Community Foundation of the New River Valley, which is celebrating 20 years of awarding scholarships to high school and college students.
This spring, the foundation awarded $126,706 to 85 students, which is both records for the organization.
The 2022 scholarship winners include 48 high school seniors from eight schools, with the greatest number of scholarships going to students from Floyd County High School, Blacksburg High School, and Christiansburg High School.
In addition, 37 college students from 13 colleges and universities received scholarships, with the most awards going to students from Virginia Tech and Radford University, as well as two each from New River Community College and Virginia Commonwealth University.
The scholarship awards typically range between $500 and $4,000 for each student.
"I firmly believe that education is the best way out of poverty," says Laura Pynn, who manages the CFNRV's scholarship program.
"That is why I am so heartened that we can give out scholarships to so many students, especially those who are the first in their family to attend college."
The scholarship program started with a $500 gift from Peggy and John Eaton, who created the T. Eaton Scholarship Fund to support students.
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One of the most significant challenges to social entrepreneurship and innovation is ensuring a diversity of approaches and participants in the movement. To truly deliver meaningful social change the leaders of the effort must share perspectives of the challenges faced by communities across the U.S. that can most appropriately come from members of those communities. Ashoka, through its All America initiative seeks to increase the diversity of social entrepreneurship practitioners.