Full Of Grace

The summer of 2014 will be a busy one for Charissa Grace Lawrence.  From July to August Ms. Lawrence will be reviewing scholarship applications submitted by Jamaican high school and college students.

Ms. Lawrence is the Founder and Executive Director of The Grace Scholarship Fund, a non-profit organization solely committed to helping Jamaican students fund their college and university education both domestically and abroad.

full-of-graceA graduate of Northwestern University and Harvard University Business School, Ms. Lawrence is a staunch supporter and promoter of education – especially in Jamaica. “As a child I spent nearly every summer and Christmas on the island – travelling everywhere from Kingston and Manchester to Grange Hill and Clarendon.

I’ve also spent a lot of time in Jamaican schools shadowing my Grandaunt who is a retired teacher of over 50 years service.  My time in Jamaica has really shaped who I am as a person so giving back in this way is completely natural for me.”

Currently The Fund is offering several scholarships. The Hummingbird Scholarship is targeted towards high school students planning on starting college in Jamaica this fall.  The Fly Away Scholarship will help to support students planning on starting college abroad this fall.

The Rochelin Family Scholarship will help to support Jamaican students currently enrolled in their 2nd, 3rd or 4th year of undergraduate studies. The scholarships range from $500 – 1,000 USD and are intended to mobilize students by helping to cover expenses related to room/board, travel, books, supplies, school fees and health insurance.

When asked if the Grace Scholarship Fund would offer additional scholarships in the future, Ms. Lawrence responded, “That’s certainly the intention.  Right now we are starting off small – I want to see how the Jamaican community responds to this offer.  The Hummingbird and Fly Away Scholarships are completely funded by me.  The Rochelin Family Scholarship is actually funded by a Caribbean family that sees value in our mission and wanted to join the movement.  

In actuality, I've been approached by several people and businesses that would like to fund scholarships in their name and I will certainly consider those going forward.  I'm particularly excited about a local Jamaican dentist that wants to fund a scholarship for students studying dentistry on the island.  

I'm happy to be a vehicle that helps connect worthy students with people in a position to help financially." While the applications require some basic academic information, students will also need to provide commentary on how they plan on giving back to the Jamaican community when they complete their collegiate or university education – an action very important to Ms. Lawrence.

All scholarship applicants must complete and submit their applications by the designated deadlines.  Winners will be announced in late August and early September when funds will also be distributed.

“I’m really encouraged.  We’ve already received applications from students residing in various Jamaican and across the United States.  I’m looking forward receiving and reviewing more!”

Additional information about the Grace Scholarship Fund and downloadable applications can be accessed on the organization’s website: www.gracefund.org .  You can also connect with the Fund on Twitter (@GraceFund) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/GraceFundJA ).