The Education Foundation of the Florida Federation of Business & Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. (BPW/FL Education Foundation) was organized in 1965 as a 501(c)(3). Its purpose is to make available to young women an opportunity to pursue higher learning.
The concept was originally realized by building scholarship houses for women on Florida state university campuses. Scholarship houses provide “a home away from home” housing for female students who have a demonstrated financial need and outstanding academic records. It is a cooperative living/learning facility, in which residents share good times, leadership experiences, life skills development and family community. Students live rent-free, paying only for food, housekeeping needs and utilities. Each house also includes a mini suite for a ´resident counselor´ who is responsible to see that the house operates smoothly and efficiently.
The Foundation established scholarship houses for deserving female students at FSU (Tallahassee), UCF (Orlando), and FAU (Boca Raton). Subsequently, a housing scholarship fund was established at St. Petersburg College. In January 2017, the Z. Ray Ross Business and Professional Women’s Clubs/FL Nursing Housing Scholarship was created with the Florida Nurses Association for young women attending the University of North Florida (UNF) in Jacksonville.
In 1965, Donna Stover Morris had a dream. She dreamed that one day she would graduate from Florida State University and become a Teacher. There was only one problem. She couldn’t afford to live on campus. Fortunately for Donna, she wasn’t the only dreamer in town. The women of the Education Foundation of the Florida Federation of Business & Professional Women’s (BPW) Clubs had big, big thoughts. They set out to build at least one scholarship house on the campus of every university in Florida to provide housing for female university students just like Donna.
In 1965, along with 20 other young women, Donna would live in the first BPW scholarship house in Tallahassee. All these years later, Donna still relishes her Scholarship house experience. “Living in that cooperative environment was an education unto itself, invaluable in lessons learned only in communal living, working, sharing and studying.”
The members of BPW/FL began the funding process by collecting their spare change in piggy banks. The piggy banks, having been fed all year long by donations, walkathons, auctions, etc. were and continue to be brought to our Annual Conference. This annual collection became known as “Hawg Callin”.
The Piggy Banks not only provided total funding for the construction of the original houses, but furnished the buildings as well. After the mortgage is paid off, the houses are then overseen by the university or, in the case of FSU, by the Southern Scholarship Foundation. Each house holds 15 to 17 young women who contribute a small amount to cover meals and operating expenses. Where we do not have actual houses, the Foundation grants scholarships on a per semester basis, in amounts which approximate the cost of housing.
HELP TO CONTINUE THE LEGACY
Since the opening of our first scholarship house, continuing through the housing scholarship grants at St. Petersburg College, our Foundation has provided over 3,400 semesters of housing for female students! Your contribution will help us to continue this legacy of helping women to achieve their goals and dreams.