The letter “Scholarshop has been an invaluable community service” (Oct. 26) questions the decision to close ScholarShop in 2017. The Scholarship Foundation is extremely grateful to customers, donors, staff, and volunteers who contributed mightily to students by raising a total of $28 million in net revenue since the ScholarShop’s founding in 1960. However, times have changed and we must adapt.
The mission of the Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis is focused squarely on helping area students attend, and graduate from, college. Since our founding in 1920 we have raised funds in a number of ways, and will continue to do so – but always in support of this mission. Our decision to close ScholarShop comes after a four-year trend of rapidly declining proceeds, which has shown no sign of reversing, and will result in a loss by 2018. We cannot justify turning away students in need to sustain a retail operation.
One former board member said: “I joined the board because I love clothes and I love education. But I love education much, much more.” The difficult decision to close these stores is part of our commitment to raising funds and supporting students who have everything required to succeed – except the financial means. St. Louis has never needed a new generation of engaged, educated, and thoughtful residents more than we do now.
Thanks to community support through a variety of fundraising opportunities, we provide more than 500 students with interest-free loans, grants, financial aid advising, paid internships, and a network of support. Our board remains focused on equity, opportunity, and the power of higher education.
Barb Touchette • St. Louis
Board president, Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis
To read Barb Touchette’s Letter to the Editor on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’swebsite, click here.