by Kayla Ireland
View the PDF here.
“Scholarships and access to financial literacy are imperative to changing the wealth trajectory of our students as well as closing the opportunity gap that impacts the communities we serve.”
Bryan Capers, previous Director of Wyman Leaders
“We believe strongly in the power of education and that an educated society is essential to a healthy democracy. We believe that nobody should be closed off from accessing education because of their financial circumstances. Anyone who wants to go to college should be able to.”
Teresa Steinkamp, Advising Director at The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis
Wyman’s scholarship partnerships began in 2006 with an endowment and the creation of the Saigh Award for our graduating seniors. In the 15 years since, we have expanded our network of partner colleges, universities, and foundations – offering continued education assistance through scholarships to young people in Wyman Leaders.
Since 2006, Wyman and our partners have awarded over $1.8 million in scholarships to more than 166 Wyman graduates.
In 2021, Wyman graduates were offered 68 scholarships: 32 new and 36 continuing scholarships. *
Recipients of these scholarships currently attend universities and colleges in states throughout the country, including Missouri, Kansas, Louisiana, Georgia, and Ohio.
These scholarship opportunities are an important part of Wyman’s commitment to supporting postsecondary access and persistence, and empowering young people to succeed in their educational journeys. Alongside Wyman’s own endowment, our scholarship partnerships currently include Missouri State University, The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis, Ranken Technical College, Southeast Missouri State University, the Greer Foundation, the Monticello College Foundation, The Saigh Foundation, and many individual donors.
Wyman and the Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis
One of our impactful collaborative partnerships is with The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis. For more than a decade, Wyman and The Scholarship Foundation have partnered on numerous programs. We currently work together to provide scholarship opportunities for Wyman participants, including the New Era Scholarship (previously Centennial Scholarship). In just the past 4 years, this collaboration has connected 50 Wyman young people to more than $1.25 million in grant funding to advance their educational goals.
Our organizations recognized early on that we share a common mission of empowering young people in the St. Louis area – and determining which organizations to partner with in this work is something that The Scholarship Foundation does with great care. “We are looking for a clear mission that focuses squarely on those who are disadvantaged by the current educational and economic systems that influence their lives,” says Faith Sandler, Executive Director of The Scholarship Foundation. “We’re looking for partners who understand this as a racial and economic equity issue – and who are in a constant learning mode.”
“A true partnership, as we have with the Scholarship Foundation, requires alignment and intensive collaboration and Wyman is committed to, and honored by, this partnership. We share values, our missions are aligned, we have complementary competencies, and we know that their integrity and dedication is second to none,” says Claire Wyneken, President and CEO of The Wyman Center.
For both The Scholarship Foundation and Wyman, partnerships like this are about more than connecting students to funding. They also play an active role in guiding teens through the college decision and application process, preparing them for the transition to college, and supporting them throughout their postsecondary journey.
“The partnership entails participation in essay writing, FAFSA completion, curriculum planning, application planning and decisions,” says Sandler. “We do that in tandem; we bring our skills to the table and work together to assist young people. It includes the opportunity to see them on their campuses and support them when they’re encountering challenges staying in school or with academic or personal success. It includes access to paid internships that The Scholarship Foundation provides, including research and advocacy work in essential public policy issues that affect students.”
Sandler also emphasized how important it is to partner with organizations like Wyman and, together, provide the fullest range of support and assistance possible to students in their postsecondary educations. “Early in this partnership, we got a chance to consider who we were. We wondered ‘Is a college visit sufficient? What else does a young person need? What are we doing to work together in a more interwoven way with complementary skills and competencies across organizations?’ And the best partnership we have had in that regard is with Wyman.”
Teresa Steinkamp, Advising Director at The Scholarship Foundation, agrees. “Wyman does a tremendous job fostering relationships with the young people in their programming and helping them create a pathway for themselves. There is a foundational development happening for years leading up to senior year of high school. When that point arrives, Wyman connects their students with us and, through an incredibly generous anonymous donor, we have the ability to potentially help these students graduate from college without any student loan debt. When you think about how many young people graduate with so much student loan debt, the possibility of going to school and having your degree paid for – without any loans – is just incredible. When I think about the partnership with Wyman, we see all of the support that goes into persistence. It’s not just The Scholarship Foundation trying to support the young people as they transition to college and complete their first few years. Wyman is also there and because of the length and strength of their relationship, we know there is consistent, ongoing support.”
Karina Arango is a Wyman Leaders alumna and is now the Advocacy Director at The Scholarship Foundation. Experiencing the impact of both Wyman and The Scholarship Foundation programming firsthand allows her to see just how deep and impactful these partnerships can be. “In the partnership between Wyman and The Scholarship Foundation, I see that we listen, evolve, and pivot when necessary – and continue walking alongside the students we serve. There is a collective charge for all of the partners involved – and that is to continue uplifting students as they make, on their own terms, decisions that best fit their lives and their education. As a former student and now staff, I can say that both Wyman and The Scholarship Foundation really have an appetite to support.”
Danielle Washington, Senior Director of Programs at Wyman, has worked with The Scholarship Foundation’s staff and was integral in implementing many of the collaborations between the two organizations. She often sees directly how this partnership has affected many Wyman program participants. “We’ve gained so many opportunities for our young people because of our partnership with The Scholarship Foundation. It’s so important to our work.”
Connecting students to our partners, like The Scholarship Foundation, is an important step in continuing support for our young people. Because of partnerships like these, many Wyman Leaders enter their postsecondary journeys with critical financial and personal assistance. For many, this support is necessary to further their education. For others, it is an important piece of support that allows them to focus their time and energy on degree completion. The impact these scholarships and other partnerships have are important for the young people who benefit from them, and Wyman remains constantly grateful to our partners for their collaboration and dedication to the young people in our community.
*Scholarship numbers are for Wyman Partnership Scholarships and include only those that are reported to Wyman. These numbers do NOT include the many additional scholarships awarded to Wyman students by their colleges and universities and/or other private scholarship funds that occur outside of Wyman negotiated partnerships.