Class of 2004
Bachelor of Fine Arts
The Foundation put trust and faith in me during my educational journey, driving me to succeed, to show they were right, and prove I was capable.
When Kelly Sullivan was asked to speak to The Scholarship Foundation’s Board of Directors upon the occasion of her interest-free loan being fully repaid, she was overcome with shock, disbelief, and joy. Kelly’s payments had been conscientious, but she had been making them without regard to any end in sight. Kelly’s relationship with The Scholarship Foundation extends almost 15 years. She was the first Bravo Scholar named by the Foundation. She was also a Sally Glassberg Sands Designated Scholar, and received an Ameren Scholarship. Over the years, she worked as a Student Advocate and ScholarShop Assistant. Kelly’s remarks to the board were inspiring to all in the room. Growing up in the foster care system from birth until she was emancipated at age 18, Kelly changed schools frequently with each of 30 foster placements. Consequently, she struggled to keep up in school, eventually dropping out. After being homeless for a year, Kelly decided to make changes in her life. She took the GED exam and did so well that she realized college was a possibility. She excelled at the community college, then transferred to Webster University with financial support from The Scholarship Foundation. While the Foundation’s funding was critical to Kelly’s persistence in school, she remarked that equally important were the paid work, support, and understanding she received from the Foundation during the difficult times in her educational journey.
After earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Kelly taught art as a way of positively influencing students who struggle to find meaning and direction. After deciding she wanted to use her personal experience to more directly help youth growing up in foster care, she spent five years at Epworth Children’s Home as a Program Manager of the St. Louis Aging-Out Initiative before moving to Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition as a 30 Days to Family Specialist. Kelly has described her life and career as productive and fulfilling, due in large part to the education she received. She told the board, “The Foundation put trust and faith in me during my educational journey, driving me to succeed, to show they were right, and prove I was capable.” Kelly is more than capable; she is an inspiration to adults and youth alike.