2017: An Extraordinary Year

Faith SandlerAdvocacy and Policy, Awards to Students, Impact, Words of Faith

These have been challenging weeks. I had not planned a year-end blogpost, thinking I had little constructive to say about the way the world is treating our students. Then, yesterday, I received an email from Barb Touchette, President of The Scholarship Foundation Board of Directors (pictured at center of photo, during a board meeting discussion).

I’m reprinting Barb’s note here, as her reflections on 2017 are a good reminder of what was accomplished and what is possible. Reading her summation sends me into 2018 better balanced and refocused. I hope this post will serve a similar purpose for you.

– Faith Sandler


This has been an extraordinary year for The Scholarship Foundation. You and the staff have accomplished so much! You’ve raised, I would think, close to $10M in major grants and significant gifts (and I’m probably low in that calculation!) Bravo!

You’ve realigned the staff and the work of the organization. And moved to a new location. The shops were closed, the processing center leased and the Clayton building sold. Kim will be retiring and we will miss her, but you have hired a strong replacement.

At the same time the staff was implementing the transition they continued to serve students in the same professional, caring fashion as always–more than 450 students received $4.1M in loans and grants. Workshops, new student orientations and exit interviews were conducted. And advisers provided one-on-one counseling to many students. Advocacy work increased. Undocumented students and those facing food insecurity were cared for compassionately.

You and the staff continued to build important and lasting relationships with donors and funders. Much work has been completed on the major gifts initiative. And although this will enhance our fundraising effort, you and the staff have been fundraising all along. And your results have been incredible! (Insert standing ovation!)

As we move into 2018, I know we are in a very good place. We have the staff and the leadership to raise funds, to serve and support students and to make a difference!

I know there are laws and policies that affect our students and weigh heavily on your mind, but I hope you also know that the work you do every day makes an incredible difference in the lives of our students.

Thank you for your leadership, your compassion, your insight and your perseverance.

Here’s to continued success in 2018!

And best wishes for a happy New Year!