Tomorrow evening the Ebell of Los Angeles will celebrate 100 years of giving scholarships to local Los Angeles County students at a centennial celebration chaired by Ebell members Kay Balue and Donna Russell.
Preceding the dinner, Los Angeles First Lady Amy Elaine Wakefield and City Council Member David Ryu will present commendations to the club during a reception in the Ebell garden. Emily Williams, Chief Deputy for County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas will also present a commendation from the County of Los Angeles. Entertainment will be provided by Ebell Scholar Naim Dehghany, who graduated this year from the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.
The Ebell Scholarship program started in 1919 with donations from members of $1,005.50, which helped seven high school girls go to college by providing them with $10 a month for the school year. In the intervening years, more than 4,750 scholars have been helped on their academic journeys, with scholarships totalling more than $6 million. This year, the club made grants to 52 students, providing each with between $3,000 and $5000 a year for the next three years.
“Following the reception in the garden, we have planned a lovely dinner with a beautiful birthday cake to honor our founders, and some very exciting birthday presents in the form of donations to our scholarship endowment fund,” Judith Day, chair of the Ebell Scholarship Committee, told the Buzz.
Olivia Headley, a longstanding Ebell member and active participant in the Ebell’s philanthropic efforts, has made a $10,000 grant that will be presented by Ebell member and former scholar (Class of 1991) Shannon Sutherland.
In addition, the Ebell will receive a $15,000 grant from Dr. Dennis Berthold, Professor Emeritus of English, Texas A&M University. Dr. Berthold was an Ebell scholar (Class of 1963) who received $500 a year for three years, which provided him sufficient support to attend school full time and finish his degree at the University of California Riverside. Dr. Berthold, who recently retired, estimated the $15,000 grant was approximately equivalent in today’s dollars to what he’d been given as a student, so he is now giving that back to the Ebell Scholarship fund. Berthold and his wife, Pam Mathews, will be at the centennial celebration.
Finally, the Ebell will celebrate a $100 donation from a recent graduate who is just getting started but wanted to give back to the fund in honor of the centennial celebrations.
While the first scholarships were given to women, in 1927 Mr. and Mrs. Charles N. Flint made an endowment gift of $40,000 and requested that the club include men as well as women, which they have done ever since.
“Our scholars are a cut above,” explained Day, a retired educator herself. “They have a 3.25 GPA, evidence of a strong record…they have demonstrated that they are community minded, and they come from limited means and go on to distinguish themselves and give back to the community, and this is so inspiring to all of us at the Ebell.
“We have scholars of all ages. They are very diverse in many ways, personally, academically and ethnically. And quite a few go on to graduate school, and many earn Ph.Ds,” she added.
After the birthday party, it’s back to work for the committee…to identify a new class of scholars. Applications open January 1, 2020. Day and her fellow volunteers plan to conduct outreach to all the accredited colleges and universities in Los Angeles County (about 53) to make sure they know about the Ebell scholarship program, and to encourage students to apply. Any freshman student is eligible.
Visit the Ebell website for more details on the application process.