Community Foundation champions education

Published 10:00 am Friday, June 7, 2013

Since 1975, the Polk County Community Foundation has been dedicated to improving the

Tij Doyen in “Seussical: The Musical” (photo by Lorin Browning)

Tij Doyen in “Seussical: The Musical” (photo by Lorin Browning)

quality of life for all in the community. Many donors to the Foundation have chosen to focus their philanthropy on education, through scholarships to deserving local students with dreams of college success, grants to educators that take their teaching to the next level and through unrestricted gifts that allow the foundation to enhance educational opportunities in the community.

In 2013, donors made it possible for the Community Foundation to award over $188,000 in scholarships to local students. Among the more than 50 Polk County and Landrum students receiving scholarship awards this year is Timothy, “Tij,” Doyen, a senior at Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy who received the Margery W. Bain-Franklin Scholarship. The Bain-Franklin Scholarship was established by the late Philip Franklin, a Tryon resident famous for singing opera at the post office to the delight of patrons lucky enough to catch a performance. It was Franklin’s hope that students with the talent to study at the prestigious University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) in Winston-Salem would have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams with the help of a generous renewable scholarship. Anyone who has seen Doyen on stage knows that he dreams to make it big. The Foundation is honored to keep its promise to Philip Franklin in awarding Tij the 2013 Bain-Franklin scholarship to attend UNCSA in the fall.

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Summer will bring local students some exciting opportunities made possible by donors to the Community Foundation and by initiatives created by the board with unrestricted gifts.  Fifteen academically gifted middle and high school students have received merit awards from a new scholarship program that will send them to summer studies with Duke University’s Talent Identification Program (TIP). The scholarships of at least $3,600 cover the full program fees for students to attend three-week camps held on college campuses where they will take advanced level courses in everything from robotics to marine biology and live with talented peers from across the country. The Polk County Community Foundation Board launched the pilot program earlier this year and worked with Duke TIP and our local schools to coordinate the application and award process.