Donors who work with the Lewisville Education Foundation practice what Executive Director Randy Canivel calls “the truest form of altruism”—investing in people they have never met.

Many monetary donors, including families, individuals, civic organizations, local Parent Teacher Associations and local business officials, will meet recipients for the first time April 16 as the foundation prepares to award 443 Lewisville ISD graduating seniors and several teachers more than $300,000 in scholarships at its annual ceremony at Lewisville High School, Canivel said.

“The scholarships are an investment. It puts college or postsecondary education in front of students; it puts something on the table to make that a reality,” he said.

The details

The foundation, which has worked with community members and organizations to procure impactful scholarships and grants for LISD students and teachers since 1990, held its first scholarship ceremony in 1991, Canivel said. Last year the LEF awarded $323,000 to about 400 people. This year it anticipates awarding $313,635 to over 440 recipients with scholarships ranging from $500 to $3,000.

In the past, the foundation held a single ceremony, but due to the growing number of recipients and attendees, it will parcel this year’s event into two ceremonies.

The first ceremony begins at 6 p.m. and will include business and civic organization scholarships as well as LISD scholarships from organizations such as the booster club and PTAs, Canivel said. At 8 p.m., the foundation will announce winners of individual and family scholarships; staff fellowship awards, which are scholarships given to teachers who want to pursue additional education; and memorial scholarships that honor people who recently died.

“This scholarship ceremony is amazing in that you get to see the district family that we've built with people from all walks of life,” he said. “It's really cool that we can all come together for one night, and we’re all celebrating students; we’re celebrating achievement; we’re celebrating the next step.”

Zooming in

When procuring scholarships, the foundation exercises a multistep blind reading process and awards applicants based on criteria outlined while working with the donors. This could be success in academics, sports or other areas. Each scholarship has specific stipulations, and each donor is vetted before accepting funds, Canivel said.

The LEF and its donors have the opportunity to make a better reality not only for students but also for the local economy. There is a trickle-down effect where students will receive aid, venture out into the workforce, find success and come back to the community to give out scholarships of their own, Canivel said. This has created a network of donors who see scholarships as an investment that enriches people’s lives, he said.

“We have formed a community that is all about giving, all about students, all about seeing students succeed who know in their hearts they have done something really well and it just spreads,” he said.

What to know

The scholarship ceremony is not a dinner event. Students will be called to the stage in sections to receive their scholarship from the donor. Cookies and punch will be offered after the ceremony. Donors and students may take pictures and mingle during this time, according to the LEF's website. The foundation asks that guests wear "dressy casual" attire. Dresses, skirts, slacks, button-downs and suits are all appropriate.

Donors with a memorial scholarship may set up any memorabilia to honor loved ones at a designated memorial table. Framed photos, jerseys, flowers, newspaper clippings are all permitted. Space is limited.