Huntsville, AL- The CAP & GOWN Project is a program started by J.O. Johnson High School teacher and wrestling coach Chris Scribner and his colleagues Emily Heller and Katharine Martin as a way to improve college matriculation rates and encourage students to consider continuing their education after high school graduation. CAP & GOWN scholars have toured over 60 colleges from Montgomery to Massachusetts, and also participate in student-led community service projects. Since those first college tours, the amount of college scholarship dollars has tripled for Johnson students, and the college matriculation rate for Johnson graduates has increased by 600 percent.
Jan Smith, CEO of S3, Inc., was the founding donor of the new fund created at the Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County. Ms. Smith’s generous initial gift of $10,000 launched the fund, which was followed by a recent grant of $25,000 from the Alpha Foundation, boosting the total to $35,000. Mr. Scribner has obtained a matching gift from an out-of-state donor who has pledged to match up to $250,000 to make CAP & GOWN a permanent endowment, allowing the program to continue indefinitely. These matching funds are contingent on raising at least $100,000 of donations from other sources first.
“I was inspired by Chris Scribner and Jailcn Young, one of his students, after hearing them speak at the Community Foundation’s recent Summit on Philanthropy conference. The amazing results this campus visit program has achieved made me realize the need to help create a permanent source of funding for CAP & GOWN. I am very pleased to be able to help these students realize their dreams of higher education,” stated Mrs. Smith.
Mr. Scribner added: “Huntsville not only boasts the smartest minds in America, but also the biggest hearts. We are starting to realize that our city can only be as strong as our most underserved students, and we are taking action as a community to invest in our human capital. College is becoming increasingly necessary for citizens to compete in the new economy, and we will work relentlessly to allow all of our students to choose how they want to continue their education after they graduate from high school.”
“The Community Foundation is very excited to see how quickly the community has responded to support this important project, and we’re happy to be able to provide the oversight and administrative support for the CAP & GOWN Project Fund. This project is a wonderful example of how philanthropy and passionate community leaders can ‘move the needle’ in achieving positive change in our community,” said Stuart Obermann, CEO/ President of the Community Foundation. “We hope that others will recognize the opportunity this fund provides for our local students and take advantage of the dollar-for-dollar matching grant that the generous anonymous donor has provided.”
Published by: System Studies & Simulation, Inc. (S3)