BERMUDA COLLEGE FOUNDATION RECEIVES $100,000 GRANT
BY ERIN SILVER
Despite the international crisis caused by Covid-19, Centennial Bermuda Foundation (formerly Bank of Bermuda Foundation) is as committed as ever to supporting students from Bermuda in every way it can says Dennis Tucker, Scholarship Committee chair.
Has the pandemic impacted your foundation?
DT: We had to adjust our priorities to focus on the most immediate near-term needs in our community versus prioritising the funding of longer-term systemic changes, which is where we typically focus our energy. Centennial Bermuda Foundation played a pivotal role in the Coordinated Crisis Response efforts, particularly during the shelter in place. We realised quickly that we needed to modify our funding model to allow for quicker turnaround times to release funding to non-profits providing essential and critical services to the community. In addition, we recognised that the need in our community was not going to be short-lived. As such the board agreed to increase our budget in 2020 with funds directed to the emergency crisis funds, as well as the stabilisation fund and to scholarships as well.
With the pandemic escalating the economic crisis, we see greater inequity in our community; the economic divide is widening. Our aim in 2021 is to continue to fund programmes and initiatives, including scholarships, that prioritise individuals with the greatest need in our community.
Are you still giving out scholarships during the pandemic?
DT: On average, we fund $900,000 in scholarships each year. Scholarships can range from one year to four-year awards. We anticipate supporting the same level in 2021.
Has the pandemic changed how you choose applicants, or how much you give?
DT: Centennial made a conscious decision about four years ago that in order to be eligible for our scholarships, students must demonstrate financial need first and foremost, and then meet the appropriate scholarship academic criteria. All applicants must complete a Statement of Means Form to assess financial merit. We anticipate far greater needs this year as a result of so many families having lost their income due to the pandemic. It is critically important in a year when there are so many challenges to attending university that we can offer some hope on the horizon.
Why do you believe it’s still important to help fund students’ education?
DT: Educational opportunities should not be limited to only those who can afford it. We want to see a more fair and just society, with a greater number in our community enjoying economic independence, hence the importance of scholarships. Education is the key to ensuring economic independence.
Is there any other exciting news you can share?
DT: For the first time, Centennial decided to make a grant to the Bermuda College Foundation to support scholarships for students to attend Bermuda College. With the pandemic we recognised that many students locally may be unable to continue their studies. We granted $100,000 to Bermuda College Foundation to support students in financial need and meeting the academic requirements. To date we have offered scholarships through the Bermuda College Foundation to 44 students, and funds are still being disbursed.
For more information about our scholarships visit centennial.bm