The British American Foundation of Texas spends a great deal of time fundraising. This is our oxygen, for without it, we cannot function. Without donations or event attendance, there is no scholarship program.
However, once we receive donations from our generous and loyal benefactors, we have a duty to ensure that those funds are distributed according to our mission and in such a way that they have maximum impact. Our benefactors, both personal and corporate, expect their donation to be redistributed to those who need it the most and who can benefit from it the most.
This is where our program kicks in. We need to make students in Texas aware of our scholarships, to inspire, excite and encourage them. Amid of sea of deadlines, assessments, family commitments, extra curriculars, coursework, community service, friendships, part time jobs, social media and a slew of other time-consuming teenage factors, we need to stand out. And this means getting in front of students. We visit high schools to talk about the transformative aspect of our UK program and middle schools to introduce the concept of college nest egg scholarships. We stand with microphones or loud voices in auditoriums, we flyer lunchrooms and corridors, we present slides in college counsellor offices and classrooms, we hold booths at college nights and present to advisors during ISD training days. Our teen-audience elevator pitches are perfected, speaking fast to fill attention spans, walking alongside those late for class.
Questions arise, disbelief that we 100% fund our UK program, that it’s aimed at the underserved, that this opportunity is available to them. Intrigue about a packed educational program that will expose to them British culture, history, politics and art in such a way that cannot be taught in school. Excitement about the prospect of returning with a Downton Abbey accent. Trepidation about a first airplane flight. Trusting in their own abilities and hoping that some untapped source of inner confidence will carry them through. Strategizing about how to convince parents that they should go.
And yet, many students figure this out and make the leap, hit the submit button on the application form and cross their fingers.
This year we received an unprecedented 98 applications for the BAFTX Junior Achiever Award, a 2 week fully-funded summer program in the UK for high school juniors from very low income families.
We are excited because, although our chosen 6 may not be aware, they have just stepped on a springboard that can change their lives. To travel, to experience, to step outside of their comfort zone, to build awareness of what else is available to them …. this is something that our gifted scholars cannot be taught. But they learn so fast that the sky is the limit. They return with supersized ambitions, start applying to Ivy Leagues (and attend them!) and build an incredible future for themselves.
We are so proud to raise funds for our programs, we are honored to work with the most wonderful benefactors, and we are privileged to deliver our program to the #globalleadersoftomorrow.