BEAN Seattle Blog
It may seem that a lot of nonprofits ask you to donate your money and your time. And once you donate, that makes you feel pretty good that your money is going to... somewhere...
But ask yourself if you can feel the impact of your good deeds in a tangible way. Sometimes, unless you are incredibly well connected to your charity of choice, it's pretty obscure.
Did you know that by coming to some of our fun events including the annual BEAN Flip Cup Tournament or by donating the BEAN Scholarship Program and attending a Sounders match as a thank you gift, you are actually helping make a student's dream come true? If you haven't read our blog on where your donations go, you should.
More about the BEAN Scholarship Program
BEAN provides a $2500 college scholarship every year to an inspiring student who attends one of Seattle's three poorest performing high schools and who has overcome enormous hardships to even get to apply to college. These students embody BEAN's tenets of friendship, leadership and service. We also hope to raise additional funds to make the scholarship sustainable, someday ensure it's an ongoing endowed scholarship and expand the program to student outreach and other activities to encourage at-risk teens to go get a college education.
Who does this actually help and why should I care?
That's still pretty abstract so let's share what this actually means when you help out the community in this way. One of the poorest performing high schools we accept applications from is Rainier Beach High School. In 2009, over 65% of the student body qualified for free or reduced student lunches. The school is also extremely diverse: 57% of students are African American, 18% are Asian and only 9% are white. Check out their school report if you don’t want to take our word for it; only 58% of students graduate on time, student proficiency is well below district averages and only 15% of test takers score higher than average on college admission exams. So we don't think we're exaggerating when we say these environments aren't optimal for fostering college ambitions. In years past, we've received heartbreaking applications from students who have experienced and overcome gang violence, fled from war-torn countries and been the first person in their family to get to graduate high school and go on to a four year university.
Our first scholarship recipient was Betelihem. We were inspired by her tremendous level of involvement despite hardships she had encountered in life; her family fled Eritrea and she came to the U.S. not speaking a word of English and even had to repeat the first grade since she didn't know her alphabet well enough. However, she went on to be student body president of her high school, played soccer, founded an African dance troupe at her school and volunteered incessantly including tutoring and mentoring other young immigrant students. Betelihem is now a student at the University of Washington where she's majoring in American Ethnic Studies, with a minor in Law, Societies and Justice. After college, she wants to take a year off to work at a law firm before applying to law school. Even with her busy college schedule and working, she's involved in the Dream Project and volunteers at the new Beginnings Domestic Violence Shelter. Yes, that’s pretty impressive. Betelihem also hopes to attend BEAN events and help volunteer with us so we hope you all get to meet her and hear her story.
What does this really mean?
You, by donating and by attending fundraising events, have provided a little piece of this person's dreams and ambitions. Students like our scholarship candidates might not be able to afford tuition if it weren't for your generosity - or perhaps they would need to spend more hours working away instead of studying. These are real students in our community; people you sit next to on the bus, people who might be making your latte and perhaps people whose professional services you might need someday, if they can achieve their goals.
How can you help? Attend our fundraising events which are posted on this site and Facebook and donate to this cause! If you want to help select the next scholarship recipient, email us at email@example.com and join our selection committee and better understand the impact of your valuable donation.