The Pursuit of Excellence scholarship program provides support for qualified financially needy students who are determined to attain a four year college degree. Scholarship recipients who maintain acceptable academic performance receive support during all their undergraduate years. Pursuit of Excellence scholarships are limited to specific high schools on the San Francisco Peninsula and in the Arlington, VA area.
HISTORY OF POE
Pursuit of Excellence is a truly “grass roots” organization. It was founded by Jerry and Dick Smallwood and has grown steadily with the support of local citizens. Approximately 200 donors give to the scholarship program each year. Donations are solicited only once a year, and gifts typically range from $100 to $10,000.
Special one-time gifts in 1995 and 1998 allowed Pursuit of Excellence to create an endowment that provides ongoing resources for the program. Pursuit of Excellence prides itself on keeping office and administrative expenses low so that the students receive the maximum benefits from donors’ gifts. Volunteers provide all the manpower required to maintain the operations of the scholarship program. Over the years, approximately 98% of the funds spent by Pursuit of Excellence have been awarded to students with the remaining 2% used for administrative and office expenses.
Pursuit of Excellence was established in late 1984 and gave its first scholarship in 1985. Since then, it has offered assistance to over 430 students. During the ’15-’16 fiscal year, over $500,000 has been awarded to a total of 165 new and continuing students.