NEW YORK, Sept. 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Scholarship America® is pleased to announce its Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund® — the largest private scholarship fund for 9/11 families – has surpassed $176 million in total scholarships awarded to 3,848 students since being founded after September 11, 2001. In 2001, the goal was to support 3,800 students who lost loved ones on 9/11. However, over the years the number of eligible students has grown by nearly 50% due to devastating illness contracted by rescue workers as a result of exposure on 9/11. So many of these rescue workers, who put their lives at risk to save others, are now critically ill and permanently disabled as a result of their heroic efforts.
"The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund is a tribute to all who were lost or disabled on that tragic day 19 years ago," said Executive Director Rhianna Quinn Roddy, Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund. "Notwithstanding the challenges of the recent pandemic, our goal is to ensure the remaining 3,000 students have the same opportunity to attend college as the initial group of Families of Freedom scholars and we ask for the individuals across our nation to donate to our Fund and support us once again."
"The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund has been supporting families for nearly 20 years and continues to be very significant to us," said Robert C. Ballard, president and CEO of Scholarship America and a naval veteran. "We will not forget about the children whose lives were forever changed because of 9/11. It is our honor to continue that support until the last of our students fulfill their educational dreams. We are calling for national support to help fulfill a promise America made to these students and their families."
Students like Samantha Palazzo. "I was 11 months old when my dad was killed on September 11," said Palazzo. "I only have stories of my father, rather than real memories. It has been an emotional battle to live without my dad, but my mother has raised me to be brave, strong and independent...I know my father would be proud of all I have accomplished. Citi Foundation and Families of Freedom have made a difference in my education and I am eternally thankful for this opportunity."
The creation of the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund sparked incredible generosity nationwide. With President Bill Clinton and U.S. Senator Bob Dole serving as fund co-founders, donations arrived from more than 20,000 corporations, foundations, educational institutions, grassroots organizations, and individuals, raising more than $100 million. While the Fund has performed exceptionally, the increased number of illnesses in Ground Zero rescue workers has increased demand significantly and millions more are needed.
For information about the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund and to donate, go to our Facebook page or our website at www.familiesoffreedom.org. The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund is administered without charge by Scholarship America.
About Scholarship America®
Scholarship America is a non-profit organization that helps students fulfill their college dreams. Since 1958, Scholarship America has distributed $4.3 billion to more than 2.6 million students. The organization works with partners to lower barriers to a college education and give students the support needed to succeed. Learn more at scholarshipamerica.org or familiesoffreedom.org