'First in Family' Scholarships Allow Students to Graduate Debt-Free

Farash Foundation News Release

January 5, 2012

A new scholarship program will enable students from Monroe and Ontario Counties to graduate from college absolutely debt-free. The scholarships will be available to students who are the first in their immediate families to attend college.

First in Family Scholarships will be provided by the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation, which will commit up to $3.5 million to fund the scholarship program for students in the next three entering classes at institutions of higher education in Monroe and Ontario Counties.

 Each of the nine institutions in Monroe and Ontario Counties—Finger Lakes Community College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Monroe Community College, Nazareth College, Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester Institute of Technology, St. John Fisher College, SUNY College at Brockport, and University of Rochester—will designate one student each year to receive a First in Family Scholarship.

“We at the Farash Foundation are heartened by the prospect of helping local students to be the first in their families to gain a college education without enduring the burden of a financial obligation likely to last for decades,” said Thomas H. Jackson, Foundation trustee. “We know this will give these scholars brighter, more productive futures—perhaps far beyond their families’ dreams.”

“This scholarship program promises to remove the financial barriers that prevent so many first generation college students from considering college or attending the college of their choice,” said Anne Kress, Monroe Community College president. “This investment in our community’s students is certain to bring huge returns for our region and assure a better future for the students and their families.”

“I applaud the Farash Foundation for its innovative leadership in providing generous support for those students who are the first in their family to attend college,” said Mark Gearan, president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. “Through the creation of this scholarship, the Farash Foundation provides access to deserving students and recognizes the powerful difference that higher education can have in transforming the lives of this generation and enhancing those who will follow. The generosity of the Farash Foundation’s First in Family Scholarship will have a ripple effect for generations to come.”

Once a college has determined financial awards for its entering students, the Foundation will supply all additional funds needed to completely pay for the Farash Scholar’s tuition, room and board, textbooks, and mandatory fees. The Foundation’s support will continue over the course of the students’ college careers (up to five years). Since these students won’t need to take jobs to support their college studies or to participate in work-study programs, they will instead be asked to undertake community service at local nonprofit organizations.

“The Foundation will take an active role in the lives of Farash Scholars, by creating programming to enable them to interact with each other, with community leaders, and with Foundation trustees,” said Hollis S. Budd, the Foundation’s executive director. “We intend for those interactions to continue through their college years and hopefully inspire them to make community service a lifetime pursuit.

“Max and Marian Farash were passionate advocates for education, and this program honors and extends their commitment,” she continued. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to change the course of their lives and those of their families.”

In addition to special programs such as First in Family Scholarships, the Farash Prize for Social Entrepreneurship, and the Max Farash Building Repair Emergency Fund, the Foundation offers grants to nonprofit organizations in Monroe and Ontario Counties in the categories of education, Jewish life, entrepreneurship, arts and culture, and human services.

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Residents of Rochester for virtually all of their lives, Max and Marian Farash cared deeply about their community. In 1988, they established the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation, which makes grants to nonprofit organizations in Monroe and Ontario Counties, half of them for Jewish projects and programs.