Throughout this year, the Wayne County Foundation is highlighting several of our donors through blog posts. This initiative aims to understand their story and how their philanthropic endeavors create positive impacts in the community. For our second donor story, we talked with Clyde and Carol Black, who established three scholarship funds named after their sons through the Foundation.

The Three Scholarships

Clyde and Carol established three scholarships through the Foundation to honor their sons. Each son had their own career path and interests and the criteria for the scholarships reflect those decisions.

The three scholarship funds include:

  • Jonathan Alan Scholarship Fund: First awarded in 1999, this scholarship recognizes a Richmond High School graduating senior entering a medical profession who demonstrates financial need.
  • Jeffrey Duncan Scholarship Fund: Given since 2001, the scholarship is awarded to a Richmond High School graduating senior going into a STEM field who demonstrates financial need.
  • James Joseph Scholarship Fund: First given in 2001, it is awarded to a Richmond High School graduating senior entering a human service field who demonstrates financial need.

Strong Family Ties

Clyde and Carol spent their professional careers in education. Clyde worked at Earlham for five years before becoming a guidance counselor at Richmond High School. Carol was a schoolteacher for a time, volunteered with local schools, and served on the board of Hope House.

They had four children: three sons and one daughter: Jon, James, Jeffrey, and Jennifer. They were graduates of Richmond High School and pursued a variety of professions. Those career choices ranged from military service, paramedic, hairdresser, electrical engineer, and school bus driver. All four children paid for their own post-secondary education. This circumstance helped the Blacks establish the three scholarships and set aside educational funds for Jennifer’s children.

After helping students succeed in their education for so many years, it became one of the Black’s passions. This was a contributing factor in establishing the scholarships, as they could help local students in need pursue their academic goals, whether it was going to a four-year university or a vocational school.

For them, it is about helping students continue their education by offering support through scholarships. As Carol said, “They just have a better chance of getting an education.”

Education can open doors that would otherwise be inaccessible to some people. It can help give them a better future for themselves and their families. Clyde and Carol envision scholarships having this impact on students.

“You kind of hope for a ripple effect,” noted Clyde. “That’s the motivation. To give people the chance to move up.”

Clyde even mentioned a time a parent from their prayer group approached him to tell him how much the scholarship helped. Scholarship funds extend a hand to students to help them achieve their goals.

Quiet Giving and Meaningful Impacts

Clyde and Carol are quiet and humble givers. The scholarships only contain their sons’ first and middle names. This was done intentionally to honor not only Jon, James, and Jeffrey, but also the students who received the support.

“It’s not a thing of showing off,” said Clyde. “It is to honor them, not us.”

Since the scholarship funds were established, 41 local high school students have received financial support to pursue higher education. Some of those students send family updates on their academic progress.

Philanthropic Advice

Philanthropy is different for everyone. Every donor has a vision of what they want to achieve through their funds. Clyde and Carol chose to dedicate their philanthropic efforts to advancing education.

A common misconception is that philanthropy involves giving substantial amounts of money. However, one of the best pieces of advice Clyde gives is, “You can start modestly.”

Clyde also encourages donors to consider establishing funds through foundations. Foundations ensure that the funds are used the way the donor intended.

Creating the scholarships allowed the Blacks to fulfill a passion for helping students in need. Philanthropy can give donors the opportunity to address the needs of the community.

Are you interested in giving? Visit our website’s Ways to Give page to learn about the several ways you can give to the Foundation.