“We have an obligation and a responsibility to be investing in our students and our schools. We must make sure that people who have the grades, the desire and the will, but not the money, can still get the best education possible.”
~President Barack Obama
One thing we know for sure is that college is not cheap. Even after a student is accepted into college, the costs continue with expenses, including textbooks and supplies needed for classes, and to ultimately be successful in class. Studies show that textbook costs alone have increased by more than 800 percent since 1978, and the inflation rate is higher than college tuition alone. For Kimberley Martin, founder of the KLM Scholarship Foundation, the need to assist future college students with the burden of purchasing textbooks each semester was one that touched home.
“When I went off to college, tuition was taken care of, but I forgot about the books needed for class. Very soon, my parents were hit with the costs of college textbooks every semester, and that financial expense became a burden.” comments Martin.
The Kimberley Landy Martin (KLM) Scholarship Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization in Richmond just celebrated ten years of excellence and education in Virginia in November 2012. The organization was established and incorporated in 2002, and their primary purpose is to raise funds and distribute book scholarship awards to students attending a four-year college or university within the state of Virginia. The organization is making sure college is an option for every child no matter what financial obstacles they face. KLM Scholarship Foundation lives by the motto that “Together, we make education affordable”. Their mission is to promote the value of higher education and offer substantial academic scholarships. Their purpose has materialized into a full-fledged Book Scholarship Program. The program has been used as an effective tool for alleviating the financial burdens associated with college textbooks and supplies for many years.
“When our daughter, Chanté was seeking out resources to help with college tuition and expenses, I was so happy that she discovered a local organization that was committed to the students in the area. I encouraged her to complete the necessary requirement quickly, as I knew that to receive this scholarship would mean more than money; it would mean a local organization that would not only follow her progress and successes; but they would be proud of them as well. The KLM scholarship award was truly beneficial in assisting with our daughter’s college expenses and needs,” says Leslie Farrar, parent of a KLM Scholarship award winner.
Their organizational day-to-day operations and book scholarship program is facilitated entirely by a core group of dedicated volunteers who donate their time making things happen in the community. No one, including the founder, is compensated.
Their core values include:
- Education – Promote the advantages and value of education
- Scholarships – Offer academic scholarships to deserving students
- Partnerships – Partner and collaborate with the community & other non-profit organizations to ensure established goals & objectives are met
- Communication – Establish and maintain open, honest lines of communication with Virginia-based colleges/universities, scholarship recipients and the community at-large
Even after accomplishing a lot in ten years, the foundation recognizes that there is still a lot to be done to make higher education affordable.
“The KLM Scholarship was foremost that most beneficial assistance I received! I knew that my parents were very concerned with the cost of my tuition, living needs and books; and this scholarship help to ease the anxiety we all had. I am so blessed that KLM scholarship foundation choose my application as one of the local students to assist and I am truly thankful. It was such a great feeling to purchase the books that I needed with no problems and without any anxiety or worry. I am truly thankful for the assistance that I received,” says Chanté Evans, a past KLM Scholarship Foundation award recipient.
About The Founder
Kimberley Martin founded the organization in 2002. Starting the program is directly linked to the philanthropic legacy passed along by her maternal Great-Grandmother, Florence Brickhouse Bowser. Florence B. Bowser spent tireless hours spearheading various fundraisers to secure monies that were matched by the state of Virginia and the Rosenwald Rural School Building Program. The funds were used to build the Florence Graded School, a historic landmark and one of the first Virginia-based Rosenwald Schools specifically built for African Americans in Suffolk, Virginia (then Nansemond County) during 1920. The City of Suffolk erected a new building during 1963. That building bears her name to this day and is called the Florence Bowser Elementary School.
Martin believes in the value of higher education and the intrinsic rewards that accompany it. Her belief is higher education exposes one to new concepts, serves as the preparatory bridge for any given profession, and has the potential to increases one’s earning potential. Kimberley also wanted to give back to her undergraduate alma mater Virginia State University, and the community. There were not any other programs within the Commonwealth of Virginia that focused solely on awarding book scholarships. She recognized the gap as an exciting way to lend a hand to her beloved home state.
The Need for KLM
There is indeed a need for KLM in the community. Just recently, Tidewater Community College announced that they will be offering a textbook free degree program in the fall that could reduce the price of earning an associate degree by about a third.
“I think we have a responsibility as a college to do what we can to help control the costs of textbooks because we know there are students who can’t afford them,” said Daniel T. DeMarte, TCC vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer. “We know there are students who are not successful because they can’t afford them.” *
*Richmond Times – Dispatch
Until all schools adopt this cost-effective approach to textbooks, the KLM Scholarship Foundation is doing what they can to make education affordable to everyone.
“The KLM Scholarship Foundation has made it so much easier to start up the school year and get right into my studies. Not having sufficient funds for books and other supplies for college coursework can definitely put a student behind on work and cause grades to decline,” says Stefanie Bonner, a current recipient of the KLM Book Scholarship Program.
According to the Government Accountability Office, college textbook prices have risen at twice the rate of annual inflation over the last two decades, following close behind annual increases in tuition and fees at postsecondary institutions. Since December of 1986, textbook prices have nearly tripled, increasing by 186 percent, while tuition and fees increased by 240 percent and overall prices grew by 72 percent. The cost of college textbooks can range from $500.00 upward to $1,200 on average per school year depending upon the curriculum and school. For many youth, this cost can serve as a barrier to their higher education. Traditional scholarships will cover the cost of tuition and fees as well as room and board; but a huge gap remains for textbooks and supplies. Very often we find that all books are not offered online, or the new edition of a textbook is even more costly. Professors communicate the textbooks, needed for classes, days in advance of the first day of class, leaving students unable to afford a textbook in a true bind.
“I have received the KLM Book Scholarship for the past two years and I am truly thankful. As my father and I struggle to pay for my other college fees such as tuition, it is a pure relief to not also have to worry about how I will be paying for my books. The KLM Foundation and the people behind it have helped me in more ways than they know,” says Kareema Smith, a KLM Scholarship Foundation student.
KLM is proud to assist ambitious, innovative, and compassionate students in furthering their education and achieving collegiate goals. The scholarship winners display remarkable academic achievement, extra-curricular participation and community service, as well as unmatched leadership abilities.
“The responsibility of the education of our youth rest with all of us.” says Tonya Harrington, a volunteer with the foundation.
KLM Gives Back to the Community
The National Association of College Stores (NACS) says the average college student will spend $655 on textbooks each year, but with a single textbook easily costing as much as $300, that total can easily be higher.
“Education is a gift that keeps on giving to the individual, local community, nationally and globally. The KLM Scholarship Foundation is dedicated towards helping our youth pursue their higher education goals.” says Kimberley L. Martin, Founder of the KLM Scholarship Foundation.
KLM Scholarship Foundation is the first 501(c)(3) organization within the Commonwealth of Virginia to offer a Book Scholarship Program. They are the only organization providing book scholarships to students attending public or private four-year Virginia colleges and universities. The awards are not gender, race, or major specific. Therefore, wide and diverse spectrums of students have the ability to qualify for book scholarship awards.
“It is a joy and privilege to provide support to Virginia college students. Serving others is what God expects and we will continue to serve by distributing book scholarships,” comments Martin.
Book Scholarship Program
Every year, the KLM Scholarship Foundation accepts book scholarship applications between May – June. Students complete a series of essay questions and submit an official transcript to corroborate their GPA. A scholarship committee reviews each application and selects a slate of students during the month of July to obtain a book scholarship for the current school year. Book scholarship awards are distributed every August before the college school year begins.
KLM Scholarship Foundation scholarships are all academic-based and target Virginia college students faced with difficult financial situations in their family. The Foundation fulfills their mission through the Book Scholarship Program. The Book Scholarship Program targets youth between the ages of 17 – 22 attending Virginia colleges. The KLM Scholarship Foundation fills a tremendous financial void for college students by offering a Book Scholarship Program that will pay for college textbooks and supplies for qualifying students. The book scholarship awards have ranged from $200.00 to $1,000.00. The average book scholarship is $650.00. KLM needs the community’s help to make sure that every student who applies for financial assistance receives it. It is important to provide scholarships that make a difference when purchasing the necessary supplies for college. Over the years, the organization has awarded over $51,000 in book scholarships to 78 students. In 2012, the organization awarded $15,000 in book scholarships to 21 students attending college within the Commonwealth of Virginia.
How The Community Can Help
On Saturday, April 6, 2013 the KLM Scholarship Foundation will be hosting its 5th Annual Black & White Affair.
Since 2009, the KLM Scholarship Foundation has hosted an annual Black & White Affair Charity Benefit in the spring. After expenses are paid, 100% of the proceeds from the event fund the Book Scholarship Program. This amazing, charitable event is held at the Children’s Museum of Richmond. Local news Anchor/Reporter, Shelby Brown (CBS 6), serves as the Mistress of Ceremony every year. The fundraiser features Blackjack, Roulette, and Craps games run by experienced dealers. Participants are encouraged to wear black & white party attire and to gamble with abandon risk-free. There is a DJ, dancing, free food, cocktails, door prizes, and raffles. Guests have an opportunity to bid on a variety of attractive silent auction items and take advantage of onsite photography.
This year’s event will be held at the Children’s Museum of Richmond. This year is the first year that KLM will be giving out a $500 book scholarship to a deserving student at the event. For the Book Scholarship Program to be successful, the KLM Scholarship Foundation holds their annual Black & White Affair fundraising event to help make a positive impact in the community. The organization uses this event to provide the assistance the youth in the community are looking for in terms of financial assistance for higher education.
The organization is also in need of a results-oriented grant writer who can move the organization forward from a funding perspective. The organization also accepts charitable donations to support their day-to-day expenses and annual Black & White Affair events. In-kind donations help to provide their scholars with supplies for use while in college and support some of the expenses needed to hold their annual event. All donations to the Book Scholarship Program are tax-deductible. Donations are accepted online at www.KLMFoundation.org and P.O. Box 3081, Henrico, VA 23228.
The Next Step
Over time, KLM is looking to partner with corporations, other non-profits and the community-at-large to reinforce the organization’s motto, “Together, we make education affordable”. The foundation will continue to provide book scholarships as well as college prep seminars and career counseling services in the future. KLM has the long-term goal of being a one-stop-shop for students entering and exiting college.
KLM is also looking to expand their services beyond a book scholarship, and would like to provide laptops and iPads to deserving students.
The KLM Scholarship Foundation consists of loving, compassionate and devoted volunteers who are willing to do whatever it takes to make higher education affordable for Virginia college students. Support your community today, and give back to an organization that helps children achieve their dreams in going off to college! For more information on the KLM Scholarship Foundation, and what you can do to help, visit: www.klmfoundation.org.
“In today’s society it is almost impossible to cover the cost of attending college with grants alone. In order to pay the remaining balance, students like myself have to maintain a part-time job while in school. While it certainly isn’t impossible, sometimes things can get stressful trying to balance the two. In situations like mine, scholarships of any sort are beneficial and highly appreciated. I believe it’s one thing to attend class, pass and work part-time, but it’s another to continue to excel in class year after year while still being employed. This book scholarship has helped cut back some of the stress that comes alongside working and attending school by handling a big expense. While financial aid can cover the cost to get you in class, you can’t pass without the required materials and textbooks. I am truly thankful that over the years I have not had to worry about the cost of books thanks to the KLM Book Scholarship. To Kimberley, the KLM foundation, and its supporters, Thank You! This scholarship has truly been a blessing,” comments Alicia Austin, a KLM Scholarship Foundation award recipient.