LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (August 19, 2021)- The Methodist Foundation for Arkansas is excited to announce a $200,000 planned gift to establish The Hope Scholarship to benefit low-income undergraduate students in Arkansas. This gift, along with The Methodist Foundation for Arkansas’ commitment of an additional $100,000 a year for the next four years, brings the total scholarship award to $600,000.
While the donors prefer to remain anonymous, they expressed their desire to uphold the Wesleyan cornerstone of “doing all the good you can, by all the means you can, for as long as you can” while inspiring others to do the same. The Hope Scholarship will award $150,000 for the next four years to incoming and current undergraduate students. Four Arkansas organizations will administer the scholarship- Hendrix College in Conway, Philander Smith College, the Dr. Charles W. Donaldson Scholars Academy, and the Oscar Washington, Jr., Educational Fund, all based out of Little Rock- starting the Fall 2022 semester.
While Hendrix College and Philander Smith College are traditional four-year institutions, the Dr. Charles W. Donaldson Scholars Academy is a year-round program open to high school students in the Pulaski County Special School District and Jacksonville North Pulaski School District. The program provides academic support and mentoring for underrepresented and first-generation students. “I am appreciative of The Methodist Foundation for providing this life-changing support. This makes me so proud to be a United Methodist,” said Dr. Donaldson, the academy’s namesake.
The Oscar Washington, Jr. Educational Fund provides scholarships to college-bound high school seniors based on demonstrated academic achievement, financial need, and community service, the hallmark of the fund’s namesake. “We were humbled and profoundly thankful to hear of donors who shared our desire to help youth and chose to make a significant financial investment with anonymity,” said The Honorable Mark Leverett, chair of the fund. “Further, that the Grant Committee of the Foundation voted to match the donor’s generous offer and doubled the already generous gift! We are grateful to the Lord for knitting us together with like-minded people and organizations for the benefit of Arkansas’ youth.”
According to the College Board, the average published cost of a four-year public university, including in-state tuition, fees, room, and board, is now about $22,000 a year. Average annual costs at four-year private, nonprofit colleges can be well over twice that amount. “As college affordability continues to skyrocket, funding initiatives like The Hope Scholarship allow promising scholars to pursue – and afford – their dreams of being college graduates,” said Philander Smith College President Roderick Smothers, Sr. “The goal of this scholarship is to help those students with high potential for success in college who might not be able to afford it otherwise,” said Rev. J. Wayne Clark, President & CEO of The Methodist Foundation for Arkansas.
“We are so excited to receive the news of this tremendous gift, and we are deeply grateful to the donor and The Methodist Foundation for Arkansas,” said Hendrix College President Ellis Arnold. “Not only does this scholarship recognize our proud heritage as a Methodist Church-related college, but it also provides the opportunity for future students to have life-changing opportunities at Hendrix.” “These donors recognize that a college degree can make all the difference,” said Clark. “For the Foundation to double the donors’ gift only adds to this excitement.”
The Methodist Foundation for Arkansas manages over $235 million in endowment funds and other charitable assets that benefit local churches and other United Methodist ministries. The Foundation is one of the largest United Methodist Foundations in the country. Founded in 1963, it is responsible for over 800 funds that support United Methodist ministries. Visit methodistfoundationAR.org for more information.
 Ma, Jennifer, Matea Pender, and CJ Lubassi (2020), Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid 2020, New York: College Board.