Our scholarships are given to assist adult women in completing their education and pursuing career aspirations. The recipients must be 25 years of age or older, in their senior year at Hudson Valley and have at least a 2.5 GPA, coupled with a strong determination to succeed academically. They also must demonstrate financial need and be residents of Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady or Schoharie counties. Recipients were selected through a competitive application process that included the submission of a compelling 300-word essay.

2017 Scholarship Recipients

At the 2017 Trailblazer Awards Luncheon, two scholarship recipients from Schenectady County Community College (SCCC) spoke about how their Women's Fund scholarships have helped them achieve their goals. Read excerpts from their speeches below.

First Student

"I had thought about becoming a dental hygienist while in high school. I saved the money and spent a year and a half taking the nine prerequisite courses I needed before applying to the highly competitive Hudson Valley Community College’s Dental Hygiene program. When I was waiting to hear if I was awarded any of the scholarships I had applied for, I got the list of expenses for my first semester and I was floored. When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it’s kind of scary to have to come up with $2,000 in the next couple of months.

Luckily I received an email the next week that I had received a Women’s Fund scholarship. I was so happy – I told everyone, 'The best thing happened to me today!'

I was so relieved and surprised that the Women’s Fund believed in me and wanted to invest in me. This scholarship really reduced my anxiety and gave me some peace of mind about going back to school. I had been questioning myself, wondering if I could really do it. Thank you for empowering me."

Second Student

"I had worked in finance and banking for 28 years. In 2014, I decided to make a career change, to double major in Culinary Arts and Hotel Management. Going back to school was very, very difficult for me. I was surrounded by young adults and applying myself in ways I never had before.

My proudest moment was when I opened the letter and read that I had received a Women’s Fund scholarship. By receiving this scholarship, I no longer have to worry how I am going to pay for the rest of my education. This scholarship has validated not only my decision to go back to school but also my ability to do so. I plan to open my own bakery when I graduate. I would like to give back by mentoring young women who are interested in cooking and being an entrepreneur."

2011 Scholarship Recipient

At the 2011 Trailblazer Awards Luncheon, a scholarship recipient from Hudson Valley Community College received a standing ovation after her inspiring speech about her difficult journey to better life for herself and her daughter. Read this wonderful speech below.

I was blessed to have been awarded the Women of the Capital Region Scholarship for 2011 and I am here to thank you personally. Being awarded this scholarship helped me in many ways. Being a single mom, the financial relief was so very helpful but more importantly, you were taking a chance in me and letting me know that my story was important. That I was important. Important enough to extend your hand to me in a way that no one had done before. Your generosity told me I mattered and that I could succeed because there were people that believed in me.

Today, I brought with me my daughter. She is the very reason I had decided to return to school. I wanted to give her more than my small world had to offer. She inspired me to want more out of the life I was living. You see, I was on a path that was headed nowhere. I had little care for myself or anyone else for that matter. I lived day by day, always wondering when it would all fall apart. I knew nothing of the hope and determination that I have today. I have been transformed to a survivor of my circumstances, no longer do I feel that I am the victim. No longer do I allow the challenges I face define who I am. I have become responsible. Responsible to myself, responsible to my daughter and responsible to the many women I hope to help in the future. I believe I can only keep the gifts I’ve been given by passing them on.

For the last year, I have been bringing a 12 step meeting to the Albany County Correctional Facility for Women. It is there that I share my story with other women in the hopes that they will hear something that will inspire them to change the path that they are on. I let them know that there is a world of possibility available to them if they’d only try. That if I could succeed, then so can they. But most importantly, I let them know that there is someone who believes in them. I am passing on the message that I received from you.

Now, I am in my last year at Hudson Valley Community College. In the summer I will be completing my degree in Invasive Cardiovascular Technology. I will be able to work in any hospital in any city, in any state when I am done. No longer will I fear about how I will be able to raise and support my daughter in these tough economic times, I will have a career. A career no one can take away from me. It is a gift, a gift that I have had to work hard for,, but a precious gift nonetheless, and I have all you ladies to thank for that. Your foundation is funding the women of tomorrow, it made it possible to afford the cost associated with schooling and allowed me to focus on what was important, my education.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to address you all and let you know what your scholarship has meant to me. Your foundation, along with Hudson Valley Community College has allowed me to soar to levels I never dreamed possible. I am proud to say I am a student at Hudson Valley Community College. It is a great school, nationally recognized as one of the best community colleges in the nation. It has done a great job at preparing me for the workforce I will soon be entering. Your investment there was a wise one, but I am not alone in my desire to succeed. Every day I encounter woman just like me, working hard to better themselves through education. So please, I implore you to keep investing in the women of tomorrow. There are many women out there who are deserving of this opportunity and would thrive if given the chance that you have given to me. Your scholarship changes lives, it has changed my life and for that I thank you all.

2010 Scholarship Recipients

In 2010, the Women's Fund awarded a total of $15,000 in scholarships to six women. Read their inspiring stories below.

Student #1

“When I graduated from high school I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, or where I wanted to do it, and most of all, I had no idea of how I was going to do it.”

Raised by a single mom, this woman served in the US Air Force, a career that ended abruptly due to a poor decision. A domestic violence survivor, with ten years of administrative and customer service experience, she found a dramatically unfriendly labor market when attempting to return to work. That experience led to the realization that a college degree was important. Now 30 years old, this Business Administration major serves on the student senate and achieved a 3.6 GPA last semester - a level she aims to surpass.

Student #2

In July, this woman lost everything – the result of a house fire. This single mom with a young son was inspired to pursue a degree in education after placing her then 3 year old child in a full day child care program. While devastated at needing to do that in order to work and support her family it turned out to be a prescient choice. It inspired her interest in teaching and ultimate enrollment at HVCC. Scholarship support will help her to replace the educational tools that were lost in the fire. Her goal is to transfer to a four-year college in order to "finally be able to provide my son with the future he deserves."

Student #3

“I’m doing for myself what I never believed possible and I’m doing it well.”

This Dean’s List and President’s List student had been out of school for 15 years and found the idea of returning to school just plain scary. However, the birth of her daughter and the reality of single parenthood were enough to push her beyond the fear. Recognizing that education was key to better employment opportunities and financial stability as well as the desire to provide a positive role model for her little girl continue to motivate this Cardiovascular Technology major.

Student #4

This high school drop-out and former drug user who was 11 years old when she lost her father to the effects of drug and alcohol addiction, was raised by her mother who worked three jobs just to survive. Recognizing that drugs were not going to help her achieve her life’s goals, she obtained her GED and went on to college. A high-risk pregnancy cut short her college career during her first semester. It also forced her to stop working. But it didn’t keep her away. She now attends school full time and cleans houses on the side. While her long-term goal is to obtain a Master’s Degree in Psychology and open a halfway house named after her father, most immediately this student would like to move from public housing to provide a better environment for her now two-year old daughter and continue to pursue her education. She notes that, “Having this scholarship would allow me to get a start on these goals and allow me to raise my daughter the way I would like to raise her.”

Student #5

"It has only been recently that I have finally decided what I want to do with my life."

That statement follows a year off after high school to figure out her plan, a secretarial job through a temp agency at the NYS Office of Mental Health, two years in retail management and six years with the NYS Department of Health. Now pursuing a degree in Public Administration, this individual is committed to the ideal of public service and recognizes the value that the public sector provides to the State’s citizens. Success and job satisfaction for this student will be measured by her ability to go home at night with the knowledge that she “has made life a little easier for someone else.”

Student #6

This 32 year old single mother of two daughters is majoring in Respiratory Care, currently working as a respiratory care assistant and with past experience as a certified nursing assistant. Her interest is personal; a long family history of smoking-related illnesses and premature deaths. A Dean’s List student, with a cumulative GPA of 3.22, this woman has also volunteered with Special Olympics, Pop Warner and the Double H Hole in the Woods Camp. Beyond work as a registered respiratory therapist, this scholarship recipient hopes to work with smoking cessation programs and educate youth on the dangers of smoking.