Equitable Announces Equitable Excellencesm Annual Scholarship Winners
Equitable Foundation’s signature program provides support for students focused on their higher education futures
June 10, 2020
NEW YORK – June 10, 2020 – Equitable, a leading financial services company and subsidiary of Equitable Holdings (NYSE: EQH), announced the 2020 winners of Equitable Excellencesm scholarship program. Equitable Excellence scholarships are awarded to high school students who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in academics, exemplary leadership skills and a commitment to improving their communities.
“These winning students have shown unwavering determination in pursuit of their goals, all while demonstrating incredible dedication to their communities,” said Nick Lane, President of Equitable. “The Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the academic year for millions of students and we are proud to support these scholars especially as many face uncertainty of returning to a classroom.”
Through Equitable Excellence, 369 students representing all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico, receive a one-time scholarship in the amount of $25,000, $10,000 or $2,500. The 2020 program awards more than $1.8 million to support college education and professional development.
“The Equitable Excellence Scholarship award allows me to pursue my higher education goals virtually but remain in my community,” said award winner, Cole Eicher who attends Calvary Christian High School in Clearwater, Florida. “It enables me to continue making an impact-and being a voice for-childhood cancer initiatives through my charity, #GoldTogether.”
The Equitable Foundation provides grants, partnerships, and volunteer service to support communities around the country. Its flagship program, Equitable Excellencesm has awarded scholarships totaling almost $30 million to more than 6,800 students since 2003.
The Equitable Foundation has also committed $500,000 to the DonorsChoose, “Keep Kids Learning” program to support educators, their students and communities as they manage the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.
With Equitable’s donation, ‘Keep Kids Learning’ will provide teachers with materials to send to their students in the form of personalized educational care packages. These packages contain supplies needed to facilitate remote teaching and learning including hygiene products, shelf-stable groceries, internet access and toys and supplies such as crayons or blocks. These materials will be shipped to teachers for distribution or directly to the students’ homes.
Equitable Excellence Program class of 2020
Sophia Andrews – Bear, DE
Wellspring Christian Academy
Area of Study: International Relations
Sophia launched a community-based performing arts program for underprivileged, orphaned and refugee girls in Nairobi, Kenya. Prompted by the grim reality that girls her age are vulnerable to exploitation, early marriage, and gender-based violence, she founded Ngoma Kenya to empower girls to be changemakers in their communities. She teaches classical ballet to instill confidence and creativity, having taught more than 300 girls in the last three years.
Grace Carter – Joplin, MO
Joplin High School
Area of Study: Psychology
After experiencing a devastating tornado and years of environmental tragedies that depleted the forest in her community, Grace founded an internationally certified and nationally accredited arboretum in her hometown named the Lone Elm Arboretum. Its mission is to protect the environment, cultivate trees and educate on conservation issues. The arboretum serves as a sustainable model for Joplin and other communities as to the success of small private conservation efforts. Grace has helped replenish hundreds of trees and has also created an educational YouTube series that has been viewed by thousands.
Michael Dicpinigaitis – Jericho, NY
Jericho Senior High School
Area of Study: Engineering
JerichoAdaptsToys.org is an organization in which Michael creates and assembles switch adapted toys and-3D printed assistive technology solutions and provides to children with significant physical disabilities with free access to the toys he creates and assembles. His enhanced models enable children to play with toys they would otherwise be unable to play with. Michael also created a rotating lending library so that special needs schools can borrow the toys for their students and then return them to Michael for other schools to use. Michael’s initiative helps to advance independent play and learning for students with disabilities living in New York.
Cole Eicher – Clearwater, FL
Calvary Christian High School
Area of Study: Business
Cole is the founder of an awareness initiative called #GoldTogether for childhood cancer. In 2018, GoldTogether was adopted by the American Cancer Society as one of their national initiatives. Together, the GoldTogether movement and ACS championed 125 cities to raise over $600,000 for childhood cancer research through their Relay for Life program. Now because of GoldTogether, childhood cancer survivors, their families, volunteers and the team at the American Cancer Society raise awareness and advocate for cancer resources and services.
Katherine Heath – Bloomfield Hills, MI
Bloomfield Hills High School
Area of Study: Public Policy
Katherine has always had a passion for STEM education. She took her passion to the next level by creating the FocuSStem NextGen program, which provides high school students from under-resourced school districts with onsite tours and learning at the Karmanos Cancer Institute. These in-person experiences with scientists and professional staff allow young people to explore STEM-related careers that are not highlighted in the education system. The goal is to increase awareness and diversity of future STEM professionals. FocuSStem NextGen is available to 440 high schools in the southeastern area of Michigan.
Rohan Krishnan – Hopkinton, MA
Area of Study: Political Science and International Relations
Inspired by a language immersion trip to Morocco, Rohan returned home and founded Stop the Phobia, a program to combat Islamophobia. He received a community service award of $10,000, which he used entirely to kickstart an after-school program for refugee children in his community. His passion to raise cultural sensitivity has fueled his volunteer service not just with the afterschool program but also in fundraising more than $80,000 to help Islamic residents within the Worcester, MA community.
Jackson McConnell – Johns Creek, GA
Providence Christian Academy
Area of Study: Entrepreneurship
When Jackson was eleven years old he started the foundation 20/20 Hearing with the mission to give the gift of hearing and ensure the right to communicate for those who have hearing challenges. The foundation has financially supported hundreds of families across the U.S. so their children can have the audiology care they need. His efforts have given the gift of hearing to thousands of people, including the most remote places of the world within fifteen global hearing missions in ten countries.
Anna Murphy – Stafford Springs, CT
Stafford High School
Area of Study: Business
In the fourth grade, Anna realized that due to financial hardship, many residents in her town suffered from lack of heating service during the winter. She started out going door to door to collect “cents” to donate to the local heating company so that they would help heat family's homes in the winter. Eight years later, she now has her own charity called Warming Families Makes Cents and has raised approximately $60,000 to heat the homes of more than 50 families in her town through the winter months.
Caragan Olles – De Pere, WI
Notre Dame Academy
Area of Study: Business
Knowing the significant benefits of specialized phonetics tutoring for dyslexia, Caragan wanted to provide the same kind of help to other students diagnosed with dyslexia. This passion prompted her to create Bright Young Dyslexics, a 501c(3) nonprofit with a mission to provide funding for tutoring and assistive technology for K-12 dyslexic students in Wisconsin and to educate the greater community about dyslexia. Through her foundation, Caragan leads a group of 60 volunteers and the organization now operates on a national level. Her work is being replicated by students in eleven states to help develop their own programs within their local communities.
Sophia Xu – Murphy, TX
Texas Academy of Math and Science
Area of Study: Neuroscience
Sophia’s cousin was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old. Inspired by his family's struggles to connect with him, she developed The Helping Hoodie to help ease his symptoms of sensory overload. This weighted hoodie provides a sense of physical security to those who wear it. Sophia created the prototype and then started working with the UNT Autism Center in Texas to host product review days, allowing numerous children to test the hoodie. The Helping Hoodie has won several competitions, including the Grand Prize at the Project Invent national competition, and received grants from through GoFundMe GivesBack Team and the Kurt Giessler Foundation.
To see the full list of Equitable Excellence recipients, click here.
Equitable, a subsidiary of Equitable Holdings (NYSE: EQH), has been one of America’s leading financial services providers since 1859. With the mission to help clients secure their financial well-being, the company provides advice, protection and retirement strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. Equitable has more than 8,000 employees and financial professionals and serves 2.8 million clients across the country. Please visit equitable.com for more information.
Equitable is the brand name of Equitable Holdings, Inc. and its family of companies.