Area Single Parent Scholarship groups merge

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 200 views 

In an effort to move toward more efficiency and greater reach into communities, the boards of Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Crawford and Sebastian Counties and Franklin County Single Parent Scholarship Fund have voted to join forces, according to a statement.

Linda Kaufenberg, executive director of the SPSF of Crawford and Sebastian Counties, and Dr. Jo Blondin, chancellor of the Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus and board chair of the Franklin County SPSF, made the announcement.

“Each of the boards of directors talked at length about consolidating the landscape where we do business,” said Ron Novak, SPSF-CS Board Chair. “It makes sense to put these groups together and brighten the futures of more single moms and dads.”

The Crawford, Franklin and Sebastian county funds will be administered through the office in Fort Smith. A presence will be felt in Franklin county with the formation of a Community Leadership Council. The members of this council will continue to interview applicants from Franklin County and also conduct fundraisers. The board of directors for the new entity will have members from all three counties.

“Franklin County‘s Single Parent Scholarship Fund had reached a ‘tipping point.’ In order to grow our scholarship recipients and donor base, our board felt that the best course of action was to find a non-profit partner that could successfully market the scholarship in our region,” Blondin noted. “Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Crawford and Sebastian Counties is a perfect fit."

With the current economic climate, more single parents are going back to school to become more competitive in the job market, working to provide for their families, according to the SPSF statement. By coming together, the three counties that make up Single Parent Scholarship Fund Crawford Franklin Sebastian will be able to raise more funds and earn more matching dollars for scholarships.

“We are taking this first step to a regional approach to empower more single moms, dads and families to pursue higher education,” said Executive Director Linda Kaufenberg. “By continuing to offer scholarships and encourage single parents through our mentoring program, we feel we are breaking the cycle of poverty in single parents by placing education within reach so they can provide for their families without government assistance.”

For Spring 2012 semester and future scholarships, applications from all three counties should be sent to the Fort Smith office. Applications are available online at this website.

Deadline for new applicants is Dec. 1 and for renewals, Dec. 20. Applications may be mailed, emailed, faxed or dropped off at the office located in Bank of the Ozarks, 5401 Rogers Ave., Suite 204. For additional information, call (479) 434-6171.