Foundation launches annual scholarship fund

Illustration by Karen Kurycki

The Florida Coastal School of Law Foundation has launched the Annual Scholarship Fund this year with the goal of raising not only funds for student scholarships but also awareness of the work of the Foundation. With the impressive Sonnenschein courtroom gift as its anchor, the Annual Scholarship Fund looks to inspire alumni to give in support of students seeking their dream of becoming a lawyer. Unlike the school, which is proprietary, the Coastal Law Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) and will be able to focus entirely on benefiting students and attorneys.

“Because of the special corporate nature of the school, we are in a unique position to launch an independent charitable organization to meet the philanthropic goals of the school, its mission, and its people – including alumni,” Board Chair and Jacksonville Regional Chamber President Wally Lee said.

While its charitable activities are broader than the Annual Scholarship Fund, alumni contributions will be the cornerstone for the entire foundation.

“Alumni support is the bellwether for any growing, maturing institution of higher education,” said Dean and Board Member Peter Goplerud.

With nearly 3,700 alumni nationwide, he added the Foundation has set an initial goal that focuses on participation as much as dollars raised.

“As important as the money raised is the depth of the support alumni give to their alma mater. Each gift, no matter how small, is a type of ‘vote’ that says they believe in the institution and want to see it continue to offer others the opportunity they received,” Goplerud said.

In addition to the Annual Scholarship Fund and the Martha Sonnenschein Memorial Scholarship, the Foundation houses scholarship monies from a variety of sources, including the Florida Bar Foundation, Florida Matrimonial Lawyers Association, as well as several privately funded scholarships. The growing number of scholarships and funding will keep Foundation Scholarship Committee Chair Linsay Warren ’07 and her committee busy.

“It’s gratifying to receive the gifts and support but it is even more so to be able to assist students and support programming that benefits them,” she said.

The board of the Foundation meets quarterly and includes, in addition to Lee, Goplerud and Warren, attorney Jake Schickel, public relations and communications consultant Bruce Barcelo, President of the Non-Profit Center of Northeast Florida Rena Coughlin, and Community Foundation President Nina Waters.

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