“The Cartersville Schools Foundation is thrilled to be partnering with the Shaw Family Foundation in the creation of the GateKey Permanent Endowment,” Cartersville Schools Foundation President Lisa Bell said. “It’s both exciting and encouraging when others recognize the value of GateKey and impact the program is having on our students.
“We are very greatful to the Shaws for their support of GateKey as well as the many others whose financial support makes the dream of attending college a reality for many of our students.”
The GateKey scholarship program, which began in 2007 through the Cartersville Schools Foundation, awards college scholarships for eligible students beginning as early as the fourth grade while holding students accountable for their grades and behavior throughout their academic career.
The scholarships are two-year scholarships awarded for Chattahoochee Technical College or Georgia Highlands College. However, Bell said recipients can petition the foundation to use scholarship funds toward other colleges.
She explained the GateKey program takes students who are considered to be college-bound, but may lack the finances or other support systems to make it to college once they graduate.
Gov. Nathan Deal previously announced the state’s REACH scholarship will be modeled after the GateKey model, which Superintendent Howard Hinesley brought to the city after serving as a superintendent in a Florida public school district with a similar program.
“Our foundation has been involved with character education for years,” Jason Shaw, president of the Shaw Family Foundation and Cartersville-Bartow Community Foundation board member, said in a press release. “After attending a GateKey graduation ceremony, we were particularly impressed — and inspired — by the program and knew that we wanted to help them in a significant and meaningful way.”
David Aft, president of the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia, spoke in support of endowments.
“I think a lot of people don’t really understand how endowments work,” Aft said in the release. “They are a renewable source of funding for organizations and projects we care about.”
He explained the money in a permanent endowment is invested, and a small portion of the endowment is distributed annually to the organization. Aft added the principal anchors the fund and is never touched, thus allowing the endowment to grow over time.
“Endowments give an organization future stability,” Aft said. “So many organizations only think about the current year and don’t have the luxury of planning for the future, but endowments make that possible. They also reassure donors that the organization plans to be around for a long time.
“It is our understanding that this endowment will provide a small portion of the funding that will help GateKey Scholarship recipients.”
There currently are 66 students in the GateKey program, seven of whom are enrolled at Georgia Highlands, University of Georgia, Mercer University and Berea College. Bell said the foundation will be selecting its scholarship recipients this week.