(Worcester, MA – September 12, 2022) It took 80 volunteers to comb through over 700 scholarship applications. By the end of the 2022 school year, 401 students received news they had been approved for a scholarship award. The Foundation gave out 439 awards in total this year, a small piece of the $14.04 million given to over 9,000 students since their inception in 1978.

The GWCF scholarship program is about paying it forward. Most scholarship recipients never meet the donors who start the funds, but their college aspirations are being met by those who believe in the future of Worcester County. Take William J. Short, for instance, who led the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce for 25 years, never met Jacob E. Vazquez. But the William J. Short Scholarship for Future Business and Civic Leaders helped Jacob, the first college graduate in his family, to attend Assumption University. “The Scholarship program isn’t just about giving money towards a college diploma, it’s about investing in the future of our city,” said Vazquez. “The hope is that many of these students stay in Central Massachusetts and improve their families lives, their communities, their hometowns, and the entire region.”

Talia Smith, a Charles Hugo Community Service Awardee from Massachusetts Academy of Math & Science understands the value of paying it forward. “I can see how what one person does greatly affects those around them, and I will do everything that I can to make my contributions generous and positive.” Talia plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania and major in biophysics.

Worcester State University was in the top five colleges that GWCF scholarship awardees are attending this year. WSU reports an overall graduation rate of 60%, but for students with scholarships, the graduation rate is nearly 100%. Barry Maloney, President of Worcester State University, acknowledges that scholarships act as an investment to our community. “Many of our graduates return to live and work in our community. We need these educated problem-solvers to lead us in building on the gains we’ve experienced in Worcester County.” New awardees hail from all Greater Worcester County; this year’s top towns and cities with awardees were Worcester, Douglas, Auburn, Webster, and Holden with 68% of awardees attending college across Massachusetts.

Recipients throughout Worcester County were selected through a highly competitive process on the basis of merit, financial need, and special criteria established by the individual funds. College-bound high school seniors can be considered for multiple scholarship opportunities through the Foundation’s single online application. The next application cycle will open in January of 2023. For more information, please contact GWCF’s Scholarship Philanthropy Officer Jacob E. Vázquez at jvazquez@greaterworcester.org