By Cindy Zomar, Education Coordinator
MARLBOROUGH – In 1989 a group of like-minded Marlborough residents recognized that some students were giving up on their dream of college because the price tag was just too high. Seeking to find a way to offer some financial assistance, the group formed the Citizens Scholarship Foundation of Marlborough, Dollars for Scholars, (CSF), an affiliate of the nationwide non-profit Scholarship America.
Over thirty years later, more than $875,000 has been awarded to 1,200+ deserving Marlborough residents. Many of those initial volunteers are still involved and continue to fundraise for award grants, but now the goal is to increase the individual scholarship amounts.
“Five-hundred dollars or $1,000 doesn’t even make a ‘ding’ let alone a dent in the cost associated with college classes these days, not even for books,” noted Mary Jo Nawrocki.
Nawrocki is one of the original volunteers and former Assabet Valley Regional Technical High (AVRTH) Superintendent/Director, Marlborough School Committee member, and Marlborough City Councilor. “Our goal is to increase the individual amounts to $2,000 each,” she said.
The 12 for 10 fundraising idea
To that end, the latest effort in a long string of creative fundraising attempts (Cow Chip Bingo, motorcycle rides, spelling bees, etc.) will be a push towards increasing local business participation with the 12 for 10 Fundraiser. As CSF co-founder, Marylou Vanzini is still a driving force behind the organization and admits that the idea for this newest venture came to her in the middle of the night. “A pledge for $1,200 per year, every year for ten years, will allow us to double scholarships to $2,000 each while adding $200 to the endowment fund with every new pledge,” she explained. “Our goal is to engage at least twelve local businesses (or individuals!), but I am really hoping for eighteen!”
Off to a good start
CSF volunteers are arranging meetings with local owners and managers to encourage their participation. The first of these meetings was quite successful, with Evviva Trattoria, 110 Grill, and APEX Entertainment all agreeing to make the commitment. Rob Luzzi, Community Relations Manager for APEX Entertainment, acknowledged that CSF aligns with their APEX Cares program, adding “At Apex, we strive to always be involved in community activities, and when we were presented with the opportunity to be involved with the Citizen’s Scholarship Foundation, we certainly wanted to help make a difference to local students.”
Special QCC scholarship available
Statistics show that a large percentage of Marlborough students, regardless of which high school they attend, would qualify as economically disadvantaged, and more than half of the graduates require some financial support to continue their education. With the $2,000 scholarships, the hope is that if a student is not considering college because of cost, they might instead use these funds at one of the community colleges. “As a matter of fact, there will now be a Quinsigamond Community College (QCC) CSF award for those eligible students who participated in the High School to College program with QCC at either AVRTH or Marlborough High. An anonymous donor has provided three $6,000 full tuition scholarships, and one more $2,000 tuition award to be added to a CSF $1,000 award for a total of $20,000 donated,” announced Nawrocki. “We are so very grateful!”
Watch the CSF website
Students who are Marlborough residents, regardless of the high school they attend, should watch the CSF website for announcements on application requirements for next year. Any individuals or businesses who would like to donate (any amount appreciated) can also do so through the website, www.marlborough.dollarsforscholars.org.