Marc Caron, SVR Steering Committee Member interview with
Sarah Battersby (Senior Scholarship & Education Officer, Triangle Community Foundation).
March 9, 2021
Triangle Community Foundation
Triangle Community Foundation was established in 1983 by George Hitchings with his Nobel Prize winnings. It serves students living in Durham, Orange, Wake, & Chatham counties (North Carolina). The foundation grants between 130 and 150 scholarships annually with its oldest scholarship dating back to 1986. In the past five years 814 students have been awarded $3.6 million. During 2020, the foundation awarded scholarships to students from El Salvador, Nigeria, Burma, Honduras, Republic of Congo, Brazil and Mexico. In explaining the scholarship programs, Sarah Battersby states, “We have 41 scholarship funds. Many of them, 39 of them, were founded by individual donors or families or corporations, and we have two scholarship funds that our staff manages that fundraise actively from a variety of donors and the community.”
Triangle Community Foundation utilizes numerous approaches for promoting available scholarships and outreach to prospective students. Triangle Community Foundation engages directly with school counselors, mails posters to school counselors and libraries, and promotes the scholarships through non-profits that primarily work with youth. Needing to adjust to school closures and changes to the schedule during the pandemic, a virtual poster was created that schools shared through email.
Each scholarship offered by the Triangle Community Foundation has particular criteria used to choose the scholarship recipient including financial need, academic merit, and community service. Speaking specifically, Sarah Battersby states, “We have two scholarships that are actually focused on first generation refugee and immigrant students. Those scholarships use criteria that they have to be either first generation citizens, their parents were born in a different country and they were born here, or that they've moved here since their birth.” Further, there are many helpful recommendations to consider when constructing a scholarship initiative. Several key recommendations that were shared are the removal of requirements for legal or citizenship status and avoiding requirements for FAFSA (expected financial contribution) and family financial documents.
The scholarships offered through the Triangle Community Foundation have had a positive impact on the student recipient and the university or college. Sarah explains, “Speaking from student’s semester reports over the years, some students have told us that prior to getting to college they may not have had health insurance access at all. When they arrived at college, they were able to access on campus health services, especially mental health services. One particular student comes to mind. She had a very traumatic experience. Immigration came into her home and took her father away. She was able to access mental health services when she got to campus which was really important for her. That's been the primary one; they were able to access services on campus that they weren't able to access prior to going to college.” Additionally, another student started a student club for refugee and immigrant students. Overall, refugee students bring a diversity and wealth of experiences to the university campus.
Meet SVR Volunteer, Marc Caron
Marc Caron, SVR Steering Committee Member.
Marc Caron is a Master’s candidate in the Peace and Conflict Studies department at UNC-Greensboro. His passion lies in creating equal opportunities for all individuals allowing communities to reach their full potential. This has led to a research focus on building cultures of peace that value alternatives to violence through peace education initiatives. Marc currently serves as Executive Director of C.O.N.F.L.I.C.T. Alliance, a student group within the Peace and Conflict Studies Department and is a member of the executive board of the Global Journal of Peace Research and Praxis (UNCG).