New 'giving back' Scholarship fund aims to help needy Oklahoma studentsFri, 22 Oct 2021 09:24:46 CDT
Donors looking to help deserving but financially stressed Oklahoma high school seniors offset some of the cost of attending four-year colleges or universities in the state should consider participating in the new Do Unto Others Scholarship Endowment Fund.
“All too often cost is a determining factor in whether some of our state’s most promising young people pursue their dreams of a college education, and by extension what they wish to do as a career,” said Gary Sherrer, whose family is starting the scholarship fund in coordination with the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.
If the name Gary Sherrer sounds familiar, he served four terms as a state representative and was a cabinet secretary to three Oklahoma governors.
The goal is to raise a $50,000 endowment, on which the interest earned will provide annual funding to support a $2,500 one-time award to a selected student, he said.
Payment will be made directly to the recipient’s college or university after proof of enrollment has been provided to the foundation. Scholarship dollars may be used for tuition, fees, books, equipment or supplies.
“Applicants will need to have maintained a 2.50 GPA in high school, which is lower than many “scholarships, but we wanted to focus on leadership, ethics and character as much as grades,” Sherrer said. “Preference will be given to Oklahoma seniors who have been actively involved in 4-H; FFA; Family, Career and Community Leaders of America; student council and similar class leadership organizations.”
The scholarship endowment is being established to honor the values the Sherrer children were taught by their parents, Leonard and Florida.
“My father owned the general store for 42 years in Snow, Oklahoma, and also served as postmaster,” he said. “A lot of his business was credit as many of his customers were very poor. My brothers, Bob and Don, and I spent years driving the family truck to deliver food and livestock feed to folks in desperate need of both. Dad and my mother showed all of us Sherrer kids firsthand there are people who need help and understanding. They showed us you do what you can.”
Those parental lessons inspired the Sherrer children to dispatch Gary and his wife Joyce to work with the foundation to create the Do Unto Others Scholarship Endowment Fund, based on Bible verse set forth in the Gospel of Matthew: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
“It’s the basic life lesson my parents taught all six of us children: Tenny, Leonard, Creda, Bob, Don and me,” Sherrer said. “They simply called it ‘giving back.’”
Tenny, Leonard, Creda and Don ably served students and parents for many years as public school teachers. Bob served his country and state as an officer in the U.S. Army.
“Bob and his wife Ginny have been so generous with their philanthropy through the years, including support for the Conoco-Phillips Oklahoma State University Alumni Center,” Sherer said.
To participate as a donor or get more information about the proposed scholarship fund, contact the Oklahoma City Community Foundation’s Jessica Schwager, director of scholarship programs, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 405-606-2917. The foundation is located at 1000 N. Broadway Ave. in Oklahoma City. Additional information is available through the organization’s website
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