Scholarship Foundation Channels Funds To College-Bound Graphics Students
Press release from the issuing company
NEW YORK, N.Y. — People who do philanthropic work often remark on how difficult it can be to give money away.
It’s not for want of generosity—for every truly worthy cause, there usually are pools of cash waiting to be tapped. Channeling the cash to qualified recipients is the hard part.
Efficient giving takes many hours of promotional and administrative work that even the most well-intentioned donors may have neither the time nor the skills to do. Sometimes, lacking this kind of support, funds that could make a difference go unheralded and unspent.
On June 23, eight New York City high school seniors whose college plans might otherwise have been shortchanged by the difficulties of philanthropy received tuition grants that a small but single-minded group of printing industry professionals made certain they were aware of—and then encouraged them to apply for. The students, graduates of public high schools in each of the city’s five boroughs, accepted their scholarships in an informal ceremony at AGT•seven, one of the New York metro area’s leading providers of digital prepress services.
The students were the beneficiaries of the Graphic Communications Scholarship, Award, and Career Advancement Foundation Inc., a coalition dedicated to building awareness of careers in the field and to obtaining sources of financial aid for students pursuing their studies in it. Like any philanthropic group, the Foundation raises money through appeals to its industry. It also makes the availability of existing scholarships known to deserving applicants and helps the sponsors of the grants match stipends to recipients.
The assortment of grants bestowed on June 23 indicated the success the Foundation has had in meeting its objectives. In all, 11 award programs furnished funds that will help to see the students, all graduating seniors, through their first years at colleges with graphic studies and fine-arts programs in New York City, Rhode Island, and California. In addition, Pantone Inc. provided each student with a boxed set of its widely used color specifying tools. (See end of article for a complete roster of donors and recipients.)
The evening was the culmination of nearly two years of work by the Foundation, an independent group that holds 501(C)3 tax exemption status as a not-for-profit corporation. The Foundation is not large—its full name has almost as many words as the group has active officers, trustees, and members. However, its influence is such that it was able to secure the help of 54 companies and individuals as donors or other supporters of its efforts on behalf of industry education.
Its organizers—John L. Aaron, Mark H. Darlow, William A. Dirzulaitis, Steven J. Kennedy, Jack Kott, Linda E. Nahum, and Jack Powers—are well known in New York printing circles for their advocacy of education. They first conceived the idea of starting a clearing-house for scholarships and career development in the fall of 2002 when members of several printing groups and clubs asked their help in finding eligible applicants.
Then as now, the Foundation had no official sponsors, employees, office space, or resources other than what its members could contribute or solicit from others. Nevertheless, working on a shoestring budget in their spare time, the founders were able to respond to the clubs and come to the aid of other local scholarship funds that needed promotional or managerial support.
Its fundraising efforts also prospered, and, having achieved tax exempt status in June of 2003, the Foundation presented its first five scholarships that year. It also began an outreach program aimed at acquainting the New York City public school system with the career-building assistance it could provide. A letter to guidance counselors at 20 city high schools with graphics programs urged the counselors to tell their students of the “exceptional opportunities that exist in today’s world of graphic communications” and pledged help with awards and scholarship funding.
Earlier this year, standardized scholarship criteria and application information were distributed to high schools through the 10 regions of the New York City Department of Education. A letter to parents of 12th graders invited applications for grants based on a review by a judging panel consisting of Foundation members.
Applicants were advised that they must have demonstrated an interest in graphic communications by planning to major in a discipline leading to a career in graphic communications, including advertising, design, Internet and intranets, interactive media, printing, publishing, journalism, digital asset management, photography, and other related career fields. The winners were selected on the basis of academic achievement, portfolio presentations, letters of recommendation, a personal essay, and acceptance at a two-year or a four-year college.
On June 23, with their parents and representatives of the scholarship sponsoring organizations present, the eight students were saluted by Foundation members and encouraged to take full advantage of the career paths that now lay open before them.
Nahum, president of the Foundation and an associate dean at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, told the awardees that “education is not all about academics.”
“When you go to college, the most important thing you can do is network,” she said. “Meet people—this is the part they don’t tell you about. You need to make friends. Friends are your most important asset.” She also urged them to do someday for others what was being done for them that evening: “Remember two things—networking and payback.”
A former president of the Association of Graphic Communications, Dirzulaitis, the Foundation’s treasurer, praised the memory of the late E. Richard Zimmerman, an industry leader in whose honor one of the awards was created. Dirzulaitis’s message to the students was simple: “Don’t be afraid of the decisions you make, and don’t look back. Every choice leads to another road that you can take.”
One of the donor representatives, Creo’s Nick Patrissi, observed that each stipend represented “a small down payment in the future of our industry”—a sentiment with which Aaron, a Foundation trustee, concurred.
“What is contained in those envelopes is more than just a check, “ he said. “It is the faith and the hope that we have placed in you.”
Foundation officials said that they hoped to be able to award twice as many scholarships next year. For more information about the Foundation and its programs, visit www.gcscholarships.org
The students who received 2004 grants through the Graphic Communications Scholarship, Award, and Career Advancement Foundation were as follows (names of the awards are in parentheses):
• Sally F. To: graduating Benjamin N. Cardozo H.S.; accepted at Rhode Island School of Design (Kodak Polychrome Graphics Award, Metro NY Printing Ink Association Award)
• Michael J. Parascandola: Tottenville H.S.; Baruch College, CUNY (Typographers Association of New York - Annette Sullivan Memorial Award)
• Roger J. Forde: H.S. of Graphic Communication Arts; San Diego City College (Metro Creative Graphics - E. Richard Zimmerman Memorial Award)
• Gene A. Nadela: Brooklyn Technical H.S.; Fashion Institute of Technology (Partnership in Print Production [P3] Award)
• Cesar Isabel: Washington Irving H.S.; Parsons School of Design (Michael J. Lambros Memorial Award)
• Sharise Y. Joseph: Boys & Girls H.S.; University at Albany, SUNY (Michael J. Lambros Memorial Award, Creo Americas Inc. Award)
• Webster K. Lewis: Prospect Heights H.S.; New York Institute of Technology (Innovation Design Award, Luci Lania Bensi Harter Award)
• Desiree Ortiz: Samuel Gompers Technical H.S.; New York City College of Technology, CUNY (The Navigators Club of New York Award, Ronald P. Myers - Bill Dirzulaitis Education Award)
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