December 8, 2014
Scholarship Foundation program seeking recipients
MURPHY (December 8, 2014) As high school seniors begin their final semesters, the Murphy Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Foundation will soon begin identifying deserving students for scholarships, says City Manager James Fisher, a member of the Chamber Board of Directors.
“As has been the custom, we’ll choose two seniors from the Plano ISD, and two from the Wylie ISD,” he said. “And, for the second year in a row, we will be awarding $1,500 to each of the four.”
Prior to last year, the foundation awarded one $1,500 and one $1,000 to a pair of students in each districts, but an increase in funding has allowed the non-profit to increase the awards. The scholarships are based on scholastic merit, community involvement and school recommendations.
Formed in 2006 as 501 (c) 3 corporation, the foundation’s creation was spearheaded by local State Farm agent Jon Lashbrook. The program is run by volunteers, and all funds are channeled into the scholarship fund. The first awards were the following year, a pair of $1,000 awards.
“Without Jon’s enthusiasm and drive, the foundation would not be where it is today,” said Fisher. “Bob Russell and Marcia Jowers held several offices in the early years, and we also benefited from the input from representatives of the school districts.” Shortly after launching, the foundation created an advisory board of prominent Murphy business people to help administer the foundation. Lashbrook has been the foundation’s Chairman since the beginning.
The foundation has developed a multi-pronged approach to fundraising. “We solicit major businesses in the area for their support,” said Fisher. “Additionally, the Chamber membership has proven to be very generous supporters. And, finally, we conduct special events and other specific programs to raise funds.
The approach has borne fruit. In 2008, the two awards were increased to $1,500 each, then in 2009, the foundation awarded two $1,500 and two $1,000 to four students from the two school districts. In 2011, teacher grants were added, with an instructor in each school district awarded $500.
One fund-raising program allows residents to participate in the overall effort, and at the same time, permanently memorialize a loved one, give honor to an organization or share a thought. The Chamber Corner is made up of over 300 bricks that can be engraved with three lines. The Corner is located at the main entrance to Murphy Central Park. Bricks are available for $125, and there are still some 250 bricks available.
“The foundation gets 50 percent of each brick,” said Fisher. “This is a great way to help the foundation and recognize a deceased loved one, a veteran, a family, a church group or share a favorite saying. The City is proud to participate by providing the space for the Chamber Corner.”
Purchasing a brick can be accomplished by calling the Chamber office at (972) 805-3749, sending an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mailing a check to Murphy Chamber of Commerce, 120 E. FM 544 Ste. 72 PMB 157 Murphy, TX 75094. “We’ve awarded $45.000 since our inception, with a goal of awarding $10,000 annually,” concluded Fisher.