Scholarship fundraising drive nears end
BY JENNY WHITE
Sunday, April 21, 2019
Kevin Jones is feeling hopeful.
The Bulldog Alumni Club Scholarship fund drive is in full swing, with a little over a week to finish gathering donations for local scholarships.
“Last year we gave out 14 $1,000 scholarships, so this year our goal is to do at least one better and give out 15 or more,” Jones said.
In its sixth year of awarding scholarships, the BACS fund drive is moving a little slow this year. Jones reports the crowdfunding has tallied about $8,000 so far. That’s behind what is usually raised at this point in the fundraising efforts.
Fundraising continues until April 30.
The BACS has distributed about 50 scholarships over the years, totaling $50,000. This year the goal is $15,000-$20,000.
“We are one of those fundraisers that don’t get really big donations,” Jones said. “We are more likely to get little donations from a lot of people. And I like it like that. It really is a community effort.”
Two corporate donors who have stepped up this year include Verizon and Sheetz.
Jones said he’s a little worried about meeting the goal and hopes donations pick up in these last few days of the campaign.
“But I worry every year,” Jones said, “and it all comes together. So I’m concentrating on the applications coming in and the kids in our community that dream of going to college.”
Jones has a committee that goes through all the applications and chooses a few front-runners from every school At least one student from every Nash-Rocky Mount high school receives an award. Every applicant is interviewed by Jones at their school.
“I know interviewing every student isn’t the most efficient way to do it,” Jones said. “But I really want to get to know each kid and offer them an opportunity to experience this type of interview. Most are going to go on to doing interviews like this in college or in their career, and I want them to have one already under their belt.”
Jones forms relationships with the students and continues to encourage them throughout their college years and/o even their professional lives.
“I help them find mentors, internships, jobs and other connections to help them keep moving up,” Jones said. “I want them to have every tool possible to succeed — and hopefully, come back home to the community that helped them succeed.”
Jones stresses to all the scholars that receive BACS funds that while he knows the money is helpful, what’s most important is that they know their community is behind them.
“That’s when all the $1 and $5 and $10 donations are important. I can show these kids that 500, 1,000 or 5,000 local community members contributed. I want them to know they are supported, to know we are rooting for them. All of us.”
His method is working.
Blake Boyd, a senior at N.C. State University, received one of the BAC scholarships in 2016 when he graduated from Southern Nash High School. Boyd will graduate from N.C. State next month and start law school at UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall.
“I got other scholarships, too, from (N.C.) State. But they just put the money in your account and they’re done — it’s nothing like having someone like Kevin in your corner,” Boyd said. “For the past four years, he’s consistently checked up on me, has passed my name and resume on to people and helped me get internships. And he does this for all the kids he gives scholarships. He’s really devoted to helping us succeed.”
Boyd has donated to the scholarship fund for two years now.
“I don’t have much, but I’d like to invest in something that does the most good,” Boyd said.
Donations can be made at gofundme at https://www.gofundme.com/bac2019. Checks, made out to BAC Scholarships, can be mailed to 108 Turtle Rock Court, Rocky Mount, NC 27803. Bulldog Alumni Club is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
For more information, visit www.bacsf.org.