Scholarship America hosted their inaugural From Dreams to Degrees Education Dinner – honoring Katie Couric – on May 19, 2015 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Proceeds from the event will go toward the Scholarship America Dream Award, a completion-based scholarship program for students who are entering their second year or higher of education beyond high school.
More than 300 individuals attended the event, which honored Katie Couric, journalist and author; Donald Graham, CEO of Graham Holdings Company; and the General Motors Foundation for their efforts in helping students achieve their education dreams. Rehema Ellis, NBC national education correspondent, emceed the evening’s program, which was chaired by Rodney O. Martin, Jr., chairman and CEO of Voya Financial.
During the event, Martin surprised Scholarship America with a $25,000 gift from Voya Financial’s philanthropic arm, the Voya Foundation, to support the Scholarship America Dream Award.
“As a leader in helping Americans get ready for retirement, you might think that our main focus would be on helping people after they’ve begun their careers,” said Martin. “However, we know that the success of our customers hinges on circumstances, accomplishments and investments much earlier in life. That’s why Voya Financial and the Voya Foundation are committed to advancing children’s education and financial literacy. We are extremely proud to be part of the community that Scholarship America brings together – to literally change lives.”
The evening’s honorees were selected for their deep commitment to advancing education beyond high school for those students who need the most help. Students impacted by these important programs were present to help Scholarship America honor these individuals and organizations:
Katie Couric, honored for Philanthropic Innovation after donating the proceeds of her book, The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons From Extraordinary Lives to the Scholarship America Dream Award, said, “The American Dream is alive in the hearts and minds of all the young people that Scholarship America helps year after year.”
Donald Graham, honored for Impact & Advocacy for his commitment to undocumented and low-income students, praised scholarship programs and students: “Scholarship America opens the door, but the heroes of the program are the students.”
General Motors Foundation, honored for Social Responsibility; their Buick Achievers Scholarship Program is one of the largest and most impactful scholarship programs in the country, and was developed in effort to strengthen the country’s workforce pipeline with the next generation of leaders and innovators. “Through programs like the Buick Achievers Scholarship, we’ve made a lasting difference in the lives of thousands of students through more than $27 million in scholarships,” said Greg Martin, executive director of GM Global Public Policy and GM Foundation board member. “We are honored to join like-minded individuals such as Katie Couric and Donald Graham and to be recognized for our deep commitment to educational advancement.”