Princeton businessman Scott Sipprelle has joined forces with Robert Carr to help send more local kids in need to college.
Sipprelle, the president of investment firm Westland Ventures, told Carr, the CEO and Chairman of Heartland Payment Systems, a Princeton-based credit card processing company, he would donate $100,000 to send five Princeton High School students to college if Carr would match the amount to fund another five students.
Carr gladly took Sipprelle up on his offer. Carr, the founder of the Give Something Back Foundation, is on a mission to send 1,000 students to college with $20 million of his own money.
Now thanks to the generosity of the two entrepreneurs, five Princeton High School students from the class of 2019 and five students from the class of 2020 will be able to go through college debt-free.
“Scott and Tracy Sipprelle’s generous donation through the Sipprelle Charitable Corporation allows us to continue to expand the program,” said Carr. “Now we can enroll 10 more students from Princeton High School over the next two years.”
Carr started out offering scholarships to students in his hometown of Lockport, Ill. This past spring, the foundation expanded into the Garden State with donations of $1 million each to The College of New Jersey and Rowan University to support the college educations of 100 New Jersey students. He has also donated $3 million to the University of Delaware to send 150 students to college there.
The foundation works “efficiently” to send kids to college, explained Sipprelle and Carr. The $20,000 per student donated by the foundation is enough to cover costs not covered by federal Pell grants and state matching grants, and costs picked up or waived by the partner colleges as part of the program. The only expenses the student must pay for are transportation and books. Students work part-time in addition to attending school full-time.
Students across the state who meet the qualifications are eligible, and Carr funds scholarships for several Trenton students to attend Princeton Day School.
At a breakfast meeting with local business owners and community leaders this morning at the Nassau Club, Carr announced that Montclair State University will be his third New Jersey partner.
In addition to scholarships, the Give Something Back Foundation provides mentors to Pell Grant-eligible students to help them prepare for college in high school, attend and graduate in four years, debt free.
Unlike philanthropic organizations where donors simply write checks, the foundation works with high school teachers and administrators to identify 9th grade students who are a good fit for the program — students who possess academic potential and come from families that lack the means to pay for college. School counselors and community leaders who run youth programs will help identify students who might qualify for the scholarships. About 12 percent of the 3,500 students in the Princeton Public Schools qualify for free or reduced lunches.
Students selected for the program must maintain a 3.0 grade point average and take college preparatory classes. Mentors work with the students to achieve their academic goals. Donors can join their scholarship recipients at an annual scholar dinner and are invited to engage in regular communication with the foundation, the scholars and their mentors, who keep donors up to date on the students’ progress and successes.
“One of the problems with philanthropy today is that donors are often too disconnected from the impact of their giving,” said Sipprelle. “But with the Give Something Back Foundation you have an opportunity to make a real connection with the recipients of your donation, making that gift more tangible.”
Sipprelle’s dad, Dudley Sipprelle, was on hand to talk about how he was the first one in his family to go to college, and how important receiving a college scholarship was. Others in the room shared similar stories about the impact of scholarships and power of mentors who made a difference in their lives.
Carr and Sipprelle hope other Princeton residents and foundations will join in their effort so that more Princeton High School students can cross the bridge to college.
Sending one student to college costs $20,000 through the foundation, but supporters can also fund just a portion of one scholarship.
“Every person in the room wants to build a better world. We may disagree sometimes about approaches,” Sipprelle said. “but we all agree that education plays a large role in building a better world.”
For more information about the Give Something Back Foundation or to make a donation, visit the foundation’s website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.