As the costs to pursue higher educational opportunities continue to rise, far too many young people are unable to cross the financial barrier and are not able to realize their higher educational pursuits. The Mu Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. has played a major role in assisting local youth realize their dreams by providing scholarships through its various fundraising efforts. In August of this year, the chapter established an educational fund at the Medical University of South Carolina in honor of one of the organization’s founders, Dr. Ernest E. Just, a Charleston native who was a renowned international biologist at the turn of the twentieth century. The fund will support minority graduate students in MUSC programs by support tuition through scholarships and providing grants for research.
The chapter recently took the steps to establish a donor advised fund at the Coastal Community Foundation (CCF) that will support high school students as they matriculate to various colleges and universities in pursuit of undergraduate degrees. “Establishing the fund at MUSC was a milestone for our organization, not only on a local level but an international level,” stated Kurt Walker, President of the chapter. The chapter then decided to make the same commitment to high school students and met with the staff at the CCF on several occasions to investigate the possibilities and financial requirements to establishing a fund.
“We met with Melissa Velesque, Vice President of Development and Stewardship and Sheffield Webb several times and even had Webb and Darrin Goss, President of the Foundation was kind enough to come speak at one of our meetings to address our members,” said Walker. “After creating a pathway at MUSC,it only made sense to do the same for our younger population. The vision is to one day be in position to shepherd a local student from schools such as Burke, North Charleston High, Fort Dorchester or wherever they may be, and to be able to say to them we have a way for you to not only go off to college but to come back home and become the doctor or researcher that you always dreamed to be and let them know that the money is there to do it,” stated Walker.
The MUSC fund is now in excess of $42,000 and the fund at CCF was started with an initial installment of $10,000. Both funds can be supported by contributions from local businesses and individuals by contacting the MUSC Foundation and the Coastal Community Foundation.