BINGHAMTON, NY – An organization that helps Binghamton graduating seniors afford to go to college brought the scholarships to the students’ front doors.
Binghamton’s Dollars for Scholars held a delivery parade last week, dropping off $500 scholarships to 47 graduates across the district.
Since its founding in 1999, the organization has given $423,000 to 948 students.
Founder and Co-President Betsy Williams says the cost of higher education has skyrocketed over the past 20 years.
“My husband paid his own way through college, summer jobs. Not possible anymore. You have to have loans and you have to have help. And that’s what we want to do,” says Williams.
This year, Binghamton Dollars for Scholars added 2 new recurring scholarships of over $4,000 each.
One is in honor of Binghamton sophomore Maddie Shaw who lost her 6 plus year battle with cancer last November.
Recipient Cindy Zhang was the first stop on the caravan.
Maddie’s mother Amy Shaw says the scholarship is an important way to keep Maddie’s memory alive.
“We kind of thought about who Maddie would want to give the scholarship to. Maybe not your straight-A student. Someone who stands up for what’s right. Maybe someone who’s overcome obstacles in their life,” says Shaw.
Much of the money for Maddie’s scholarship was raised by people from her neighborhood along Johnson Ave.
The other recurring grant is named for and endowed by Carole Oestrich, a longtime local board member.