Almost two decades ago, before most of the Student Support Foundation students were born, John and I decided we would try to teach students how to become philanthropists. From our early experiences as givers and volunteers, we knew that every small gift and act had the potential to change a life.
As with most big ideas, the Student Support Foundation started out small. Our first partnership, with Olympia High School in Orlando, Florida, ignited our passion and proved that young people were generous and eager. With a little help, they could learn quickly how to identify needs in their community.
Fast forward two decades, and we know how important Gen Z is. It’s not just Gen Z making a difference. Chapter sponsors have a huge impact by becoming the glue that holds the groups together by hosting meetings and serving as mentors and guides. They’ve volunteered their precious time to ensure that each student has the best experience possible. For that, we are truly grateful.
As we write this letter today, we are hopeful about the future. During 2021–2022, at SSF national headquarters, we listened to our chapters when they told us what they thought they would be able to accomplish during COVID-19. We listened and helped set them up for success. Some took a year off, some thrived, and a couple of chapters shut down. We respect the amazing work of every person who stayed with the program during difficult times. And now, it’s time to pick ourselves up, expand our memberships and see renewed commitment.
As we read the annual reports from each of the chapters, we are convinced—yet again—that the Student Support Foundation is succeeding beyond what we imagined nearly 20 years ago. It continues to engage students and chapter sponsors to make our world a better place. Every single grant—whether to a student food pantry or for calculators for a math classroom, for example—has made a positive impact. Every gift is a fingerprint—your fingerprint—left on the world!!
John and I just want to say Thank You. Thank you for your time and effort in your Chapter. Thank you for showing up. Thank you for being thoughtful, kind and supportive of your colleagues and your chapter sponsors. Thank you for believing in humanity.