The Say Gay Scholarship: A Beacon of Hope and Inclusion 

Jun 24, 2024 | News & Events

At the Community Foundation, we believe in the power of giving to transform lives and communities. Today, we’re thrilled to share insights from an interview with Rachel Boaz and Emily Lombard, founders of the Say Gay Scholarship. Their scholarship emerged in response to the increasing legislative hostility and societal challenges faced by LGBTQ+ youth. In 2020, as the world grappled with isolation amidst a pandemic, Emily and Rachel sought to create a signal of hope and support for queer youth. Their generosity serves as financial assistance AND a bold statement for inclusion.

“The whole point of this wasn’t about the money. It is so every kid in a small town America can see that they are loved for who they are. When you think about the suicide rates amongst LGBTQ+ kids and teens, it’s atrocious and heartbreaking. To me, it was always just about them, seeing that they’re loved.” 

Rachel Boaz and Emily Lombard, The Say Gay Scholarship

Emily and Rachel’s commitment to this cause is rooted in their personal journeys. Rachel, a Stevens Point native and public defender, and Emily, with her nonprofit background, bring together their unique experiences and dedication to care for their communities. The scholarship criteria were purposely designed with inclusivity in mind, centered on the essay rather than grades and volunteering, as not all students can focus on these areas. They were moved by the essays they reviewed, which highlighted real student stories of struggle, resilience, and hope.

The scholarship fund has grown remarkably due to the contributions from their friends and community, reflecting a collective commitment to making a difference. The success of the Say Gay Scholarship showcases the incredible impact of a community rallying together to aid those in need.

As they look to the future, the vision for the scholarship is to continue growing, reaching more students, and hopefully, one day, not be needed anymore. Until then, they are dedicated to ensuring that LGBTQ+ youth in Central Wisconsin feel valued and empowered to pursue their dreams.

For potential donors or anyone thinking of starting their giving journey, the Say Gay Scholarship is a compelling illustration of how such initiatives can make a difference. In times of adversity, scholarships become critical in supporting and uplifting our youth. They remind us of the power of compassion, connection, commitment, and the importance of standing up for our values. 

“It was incredible to see systems in place for student outreach, allowing us to focus on fundraising and selection. We felt confident that students would be aware of this scholarship and feel seen.”

To learn more about the Say Gay Scholarship or contribute, please visit the fund page. To learn more about how you can give to an existing fund or start your own giving journey, contact us at foundation@cfcwi.org. Your generosity can make a world of difference.

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