The Chapel Hill-Carrboro chapter of the NAACP has moved its annual scholarship fundraising online, facilitating the ability for the scholarship contest to be held even in a time of social distancing.
Each year, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro chapter awards several $1,000 scholarships to high school seniors continuing their education, along with smaller ongoing scholarships over their four college years.
These scholarships are largely fueled by community donations. This year’s fundraising campaign is being hosted through GoFundMe and shared through the chapter's Listserv, the website and social media pages to combat the lack of circulation through physical means.
In December of 2019, newly elected scholarship committee chair Jarveal Baker shifted the application and selection processes online.
Baker said the committee complimented him on the organization and ease of these changes at the time, but months later as people are living and working remotely, the shift online has been all the more crucial.
He said five of this year's 16 applicants will be awarded a scholarship after the committee reviews all applications and hosts virtual interviews, and a decision will be made by the end of May.
Chapter president Anna Richards said this scholarship filled a critical need for students who have the skill but lack the means to attend college.
“There are a lot of young people who have brilliant minds and have leadership qualities and who are committed to the community but don’t have the funds, or need extra help, to be able to get an education,” Richards said.
Richards said the organization hopes to raise $15,000 for the scholarships by May 29. As of May 17, donors have given over $2,300 via GoFundMe. Richards said the slow rate of donations may be due to the financial insecurities of many during the coronavirus pandemic and higher rate of unemployment.