MURRY FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP: College dreams made real for first-generation students
Two first-generation college students are fulfilling their dream of furthering their education, thanks to the newly established Murry Foundation Scholarship.
Wes Murry, a founder of the famous Castle & Key Distillery, mentor to numerous startups and co-chair of BGCF’s Fund for Greater Lexington, is well versed in charitable giving. As lead trustee of the Murry Foundation, Wes established the Murry Foundation Scholarship in 2021 to provide scholarships to first-generation college students with financial need from Fayette County, Kentucky (Wes’s home today), and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (where Wes grew up).
The scholarship provides a yearly award of $5,000, renewable for four years of undergraduate study. It also provides an incentive to maintain outstanding grades by providing an additional award of $2,500 to recipients who earn a cumulative GPA of 3.5.
The scholarship has had a profound impact on its first two recipients, Amerie Wright and Adolfo Ybarra. Both are attending their first semester of college – Amerie at Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences and Adolfo at the University of Kentucky.
Amerie always knew she wanted to be a nurse. She also knew it wouldn’t be easy. But she was encouraged by her mother’s example. When Amerie was 10 years old, her mother – a single mom – went back to school and earned a degree in nursing. Amerie watched with admiration as her mother navigated financial aid forms and studied late into the night, all while running a household and caring for her children.
“I knew that taking care of people was something I loved doing,” said Amerie. “I remember going with my mom to work and watching her care for people. That’s what inspired me to pursue my own career in nursing.”
Sadly, several years ago, Amerie’s mother suffered debilitating health difficulties and is no longer able to work. In high school, Amerie worked a part-time job to help with household expenses, meaning there was never extra money to save for college. Her dreams of a nursing career were completely dependent on financial aid and scholarships.
“I have big goals and ambitions,” said Amerie, who is considering a career in forensic nursing, “but I obviously need assistance getting there, and the Murry Foundation Scholarship has helped make it possible!”
Adolfo Ybarra also looked to his family for inspiration. Adolfo is the first person in his extended family to attend college – or even to consider the possibility. Adolfo’s father never had the opportunity, as he grew up in a poor village in Mexico and had to leave school at age 12 to help provide for his family. Adolfo’s father encouraged him to work hard in school and to value his education, and Adolfo took the advice to heart.
“My parents have always had very high hopes for me,” said Adolfo. “I want to live up to those expectations.” Yet to most of his extended family, college and scholarships seemed like impossible dreams, akin to winning the Powerball.
“This scholarship not only fueled the fire of my dream, but it also inspired the generation around me to consider furthering their education,” said Adolfo. “Ever since I got the news I received the Murry Foundation Scholarship, all of my family have asked me for advice about applying for college or help with scholarships.”
Adolfo is studying computer science and is especially interested in coding.
Blue Grass Community Foundation is where people go to give to enhance the quality of life, not only in Central and Appalachia Kentucky but in the areas that matter to our neighbors. We value giving deserving students the opportunity to pursue their dreams, and if you are interested in creating a scholarship of your own, now is the perfect time to reach out!
Donors who establish scholarship funds at Blue Grass Community Foundation may specify criteria, such as academic achievement, financial need, geographic location, college selection, community involvement, leadership, field of study, and career plans. We design the application and oversee an independent committee to evaluate applications and choose recipients. Donors may serve on the selection committee and be part of the interview process, if they wish.
To learn more, contact Scott Fitzpatrick, Vice President/ Advancement at [email protected] or 859.225.3343.