March 7, 2012
The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation has renewed a grant to the American Indian College Fund for $10,000 for scholarships. The amount will be disbursed to qualified American Indian students attending Montana’s seven tribal colleges, providing them with the financial resources to complete a college degree.
Mike Halligan, Executive Director of The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, said, “We are proud to partner again this year with the American Indian College Fund to help provide Native American students with a higher education in Montana. We believe that access to a higher education is the best way to inspire young people to reach their full potential.”
Richard B. Williams, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “The continued support of The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation has totaled $40,000 in scholarship funding to Montana tribal college students since 2008. The Foundation helps American Indian students in Montana earn a college degree to ensure a better future for themselves and their families, while serving as role models for their communities. A college education directly contributes to the economic and social revitalization of Native communities and strengthening the state of Montana as a whole.”
Miranda (Gros Ventre) is one student who has benefited from The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation’s generosity. Miranda graduated from Fort Belknap College (FBC) in Harlem, Montana with an associate’s degree in allied health/pre-nursing. She plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychiatric nursing and work at the Indian Health Services center on her reservation to remedy the void of mental health care there. Miranda was active in extracurricular activities at FBC and held positions within student government and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She also participated in the American Indian Higher Education Consortium’s Science Bowl and volunteers her vocal talents by singing at community events.
Raised by her grandparents, Miranda’s uncle was her father-figure throughout her life. When her uncle lost his battle with cancer, Miranda was overwhelmed with grief and her responsibilities at work, at school, and as a single mother. It was her late uncle’s faith in her abilities that helped Miranda to continue her college education. She says, “I felt like my uncle’s death was a breaking point in my life. Then I remembered how proud he was of me for going to college. He always told me to keep going and never give up. It was his words that reminded me I am not a quitter.” Miranda plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree and says, “I find that all my hard work is beginning to pay off. I want to show my son that no matter where you come from and how hard things seem, your dreams are not as far [away] as they appear.”
Miranda’s scholarship from The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation allowed her to concentrate on her studies and meet her financial obligations. She says, “I thank God every day for the blessings that have been bestowed upon me by The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation and the American Indian College Fund. I truly appreciate all that I am given and do not take anything for granted. I hope to serve as an example for all Native children by showing them that although we may come from small places where dreams seem unattainable, hard work and determination will help us reach the stars.”
About The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation
The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation is the major philanthropic organization for The Washington Companies and the Washington family. Its values mirror those of its Western heritage, holding fast to the Washington family’s sense of place and actively involving itself in the communities where its employees live and work. The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation invests in the individual spirit and a strong support network to enhance lives. The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation strives to better the human condition by supporting programs and services that give people the tools to enhance the quality of their lives and to benefit society as a whole. Since its inception, Foundation giving and the Washington Family’s personal contributions to charitable causes total more than $130 million.