NEW YORK, Sept. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Scholarship America's Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund®–the largest private scholarship fund for 9/11 families—has awarded $129 million in needs-based scholarships 3,100 students since September 11, 2001. The Fund provides private scholarships for children, spouses and domestic partners of people who were killed on September 11, 2001, or permanently disabled as a result of rescue operations. The Fund is transforming lives by supporting the educational dreams of families of airplane crews and passengers, World Trade Center and Pentagon workers who were killed as well as families of those permanently disabled due to Ground Zero related illnesses. Approximately $78.6 million remains to fund awards through 2030. The average award is $14,553 per student.
"15 years after the most tragic day in our nation's history, we are proud to have supported thousands of children and families as they refused to let hardship stand in the way of their dreams," said Rhianna Quinn Roddy, Executive Director, Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund. "We are so thankful to the donors who have generously supported the Fund and continue to support it year around, including at events such as the upcoming Never Forget Tribute at the Prudential Center in December."
Following the September 11 attacks, former President Clinton and Senator Bob Dole raised $100 million from over 20,000 corporations, universities, philanthropists and individuals to support the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund®. The Fund has performed exceedingly well with each passing year, with plans for the large portion of funds to be distributed during the peak years of 2009-2020, when the most of children affected by the 9/11 tragedies will be going to college. Recipients of the Fund have achieved tremendous things from appearing on American Idol to interning in foreign relations in the Middle East and everything in between.
"Without the support of the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, it would have been much more difficult to follow my dream of working in international relations to help prevent tragedies like 9/11 from happening to other families," said Jessica Wisniewski, a senior at New York University.
"We are so grateful to the Fund—without which, I would have been unable to provide funds for my three children to go to college," said Jessica's mother Kathy, who lost her husband on 9/11.
"Though I have to walk across a stage in May to get a degree that I chose in order to create the peace that my father always wanted, without him there to celebrate with me, I am thankful that the Fund gave me this opportunity when I otherwise may not have," said Casey Hargrave, a senior at George Washington University.
"The Fund allowed my mom to say 'Money is no object,' when it came to my schooling, and I know that meant a lot to her after my father's death," said Alexandra Wald, a government contractor who hopes to go into the field of counterterrorism.
"The scholarship has been instrumental not only for me and my brothers and sisters, but for so many other kids who lost parents on that day. It's inspiring to see that with each passing year, a new group of kids can get a chance to do whatever they chose to do in life, with the help of the Fund," said Joseph Palombo, an NYC accountant who lost his firefighter father.
Scholarship America has been operating the Fund with no fees since 2001 and remains committed to helping eligible students from September 11 families realize their goals and full potential through education. Scholarship America will continue to steward the Fund until the year 2030 when the last of the September 11 children will have completed college. While the Fund has performing exceptionally, the increase of the number of illnesses in Ground Zero first responders and workers as increased demand on the Fund. Families of Freedom is launching another fundraising campaign to help bolster the scholarship dollars, including the Never Forget Tribute that will be held at the Prudential Center in December.
The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund® is a program of Scholarship America®, the nation's largest non-profit, private sector scholarship and educational support organization.
"Over the years, Scholarship America has awarded funds to thousands of students around the country, but the Families of Freedom Scholarship continues to hold special meaning for us," said Robert C. Ballard, President & CEO of Scholarship America. "We will continue to support the families of those who lost their lives or were permanently disabled by the attacks on September 11, 2001. Everyone that was affected by that day deserve the opportunities a scholarship can give them, and we are committed to the continuation of that mission."
For information about the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund®, or to find out how to register, please explore familiesoffreedom.org or call 877-862-0136.
About Scholarship America
For nearly 60 years, Scholarship America has worked directly with students, parents, colleges, businesses and communities to empower people to fulfill their college dreams. As the nation's largest provider of private scholarships, having distributed over $3.1 billion to more than 2 million students, Scholarship America is now working to further engage the private sector to support programs and policies that advance equity in postsecondary education and help students overcome barriers to access, persistence and attainment.
Scholarship America's Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund provides education assistance for postsecondary study to financially needy dependents of those killed or permanently disabled as a result of the September 11, 2001 attacks. More information is available at scholarshipamerica.org and by following
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SOURCE Scholarship America