Brighten Your Future
Submitted by: LDN-Leslie Gray
Thanks to a generous $20,000 donation, Brighten Your Future can offer its 75 scholarship recipients $900 each, the same amount given in years past.
Every year BYF grants are made from only the interest earnings on the assets of the trust fund managed by BYF, supplemented by grants from donors and some fundraising activities.
This year, grants would have been about $620 because of more eligible applicants and less money to distribute. But Larry Gerstner, one of the trustees on the BYF board, decided to give a personal donation to make up the difference, a little more than $20,000. “It came about about a week and a half ago. We were getting ready to do grants. Larry was part of the selection committee. We had more eligible recipients than ever and less money to work with. We usually give about $900 for grants, but could only give $620 this year. Larry said ‘I don’t feel good about that number’ and asked if it would be possible for him to make up that amount,” Chuck Taylor, BYF executive director, said.
Of more than 119 original applicants, 75 were eligible to receive grants and BYF only had about $46,500 to spend. With Gerstner’s donation, BYF had about $66,000 to give.
“The way the economy is today, the principal we have in the account doesn’t make as much money as it used to, but the way the economy is, students need more help than ever. I felt that the amount we were giving for grants should at least be the same as it was last year because I know everyone needs it and we want to help as many people as we can,” Gerstner said.
BYF grants are calculated by need, which is determined from documents students provide as part of their application, including copies of their student aid report and financial aid award letter.
“Everybody that’s eligible gets the grant,” Taylor said.
A few years ago, the proceeds from the Harold Rheinscheld Higher Education Loan Fund were given to BYF. The Rheinscheld assets generate a significant part of the funds BYF is able to use for grants. In the summer, BYF hosts fundraisers including Lilyfest, a door-to-door campaign and tailgate party before the first home high school football game. In November, a brochure from BYF’s president is mailed to all alumni.
“We have very loyal donors,” Taylor said.
BYF was established in 1988 and since then, nearly $987,000 has been awarded to graduates of Logan High School who want to pursue further education and who need financial assistance. More than 435 individual students have received BYF grants. Recipients may use their grants at any accredited college, university or other career-training program and may be eligible for grants each year for up to five years of undergraduate schooling.
“That’s pretty remarkable for a small community,” Taylor said. “By next year we’ll hit the million dollar mark (in grants given).”
BYF is a non-profit and tax exempt organization which welcomes contributions from individuals and groups who wish to be part of its mission of providing needed financial assistance to Logan High School graduates who want to continue their education. Taylor emphasized that given the continuing increases in higher education costs, trustees are aware of the need for the assets of the foundation to grow.
“BYF is a good organization and other people should contribute when they get a chance for the future of the community,” Gerstner said.
Contributions to BYF may be made by sending them to: Brighten Your Future, P.O. Box 991, Logan, Ohio, 43138 or by calling Chuck Taylor at (740) 385-5053.