After giving out $1 million in scholarships, the PW Scholarship Fund is handing over the reins to the Colonial School District Education Foundation (CSDEF) to continue its legacy of supporting Plymouth Whitemarsh High School graduates.
“We figured we should go out on top,” said Bernadette Biasi, Chairman of the Fund.
Mrs. Biasi, who started the Fund in 1986 after her daughter graduated, is ready to pass the torch to the CSDEF after many years of raising money to help fund the post-secondary pursuits of PW graduates. It made sense for the Fund to be absorbed by the CSDEF, since it is a non-profit with a mission of building community connections and generating resources for students of Colonial School District.
“The Foundation will always be there,” she said.
The idea to create a scholarship fund came to Mrs. Biasi while she was serving as a volunteer for the high school’s Parent Teacher Organization. When she realized that PW didn’t have its own organization for providing student scholarships, she pitched the idea and worked with other volunteers she knew to establish a non-profit organization. Over the years, the Fund has had a number of volunteer Board members whose backgrounds as accountants and lawyers have helped the Fund to continue operating.
The first scholarship awards were given out in 1986 to two students and the amounts totaled $800. Mrs. Biasi and her fellow volunteers worked over the years to spread word about the fund, sending out annual mailings to request donations and reaching out to past donors and recipients for contributions. The Fund also struck a deal with the District’s school portrait provider that allowed a small fee to be added to each photo package to be donated to the Scholarship Fund. The Fund has also received money over the years through a trust fund.
This year, the Fund awarded 32 scholarships totaling $50,750, putting the total dollars given out at the $1 million mark - quite a milestone for the non-profit and for PW graduates. Students who have received scholarships from the fund often express their gratitude through kind notes and messages to Mrs. Biasi, as well as by making their own donations to the Fund. Being able to help so many students has been gratifying for Mrs. Biasi and the other members of the Fund’s Board.
“It’s been really good, really, really wonderful,” said Mrs. Biasi. “This has been my way of giving back — this has been my baby.”
Community members who want to offer financial support for PW graduates will still be able to do so by going online to colonialsd.org/foundation. Select “Scholarship Fund.” The Colonial School District and the CSDEF thank Mrs. Biasi and the Fund Board for their many years of service.