Students Destiny Johnson of Cuthbert, GA and Stephon Williams of Columbus, GA are recipients of the MARCH Foundation Ernie Brown Scholarship. The foundation, along with Brown’s family, established the gift in memory of their fellow, late board member Ernie Brown.
MARCH, which stands for Mutual Alliance Restoring Community Hope, was launched to support the education of African American youth. The foundation was created by longtime Plano, TX business and civic leader Ken Jarvis and was initially funded by the personal funds of its board members – African American executive men who retired from successful careers with UPS.
Given Brown’s sister, the Honorable Mayor Dorothy Brown Hubbard, is an ASU alum and former dean, the $10k gift made to the Albany State University Foundation is special, said Myron Williams, MARCH Board Member and Chairman of the Grants and Scholarship Committee. “We absolutely wanted to honor Ernie and couldn’t think of a better school.”
Williams and MARCH Board Member George Brooks, Jr. both presented the check at the Albany, GA campus, which is led by President Marion Ross Fedrick . “Last Mile” scholarships help already-enrolled students overcome unexpected obstacles to completing their degrees. Funds range from a few hundred dollars upward, spreading impact to multiple students.
The Ernie Brown Scholarship is just the boost that Johnson and Williams need to cross the commencement finish line.
“I am a first-generation college student, so there’s pressure on me to succeed in school and obtain my degree,” said Williams, a Health and Human Performance major, and track and field student-athlete. “This scholarship will help take the stress off me financially to help me focus more on my education … I hope to give back to others the same way.”
Johnson, a nursing major, said she is grateful because the scholarship moves her closer to her lifelong goal of serving others as a healthcare professional.
“I am passionate about caring for others and helping others reach their best health when they may be at their worst,” Johnson explained. “I am a single mother of two and I have had many challenges, including financial, that I have had to tackle and overcome to provide for my kids, as well as finance my education.”
Vita Brown, said the scholarship well honors her late husband’s life and legacy.
“Ernie was a firm believer in supporting individuals who were striving to improve themselves whether it be academically, physically, or spiritually. He often encouraged young people to be focused on their goals. To be focused on achievement. To be focused on success,” Mrs. Brown said. “I can think of no better way to honor his legacy than giving assistance to the deserving Albany State students who are working towards realizing their dreams.”
“It is my hope that they appreciate the scholarship and find a way in the future to pay it forward.”