Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Why I am Donating to @CokeScholars

In 1989, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation selected me as a scholarship recipient, one of the inaugural class of scholars chosen for not only academic achievement, but also for a commitment to lead and serve in their school, community, and the world. As you would expect, I was thankful for the funding that allowed me to attend The College of William and Mary.  It made an immediate impact, and allowed me to continue on a path of learning.

What was not as evident at the time was that by becoming a Coca-Cola Scholar, I was also joining a network of amazingly high-performing people who are leading change in communities across the United States and in countries across the world. I would also benefit from exceptional experiences afforded by the Coca-Cola Company, Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, and connections with other scholars.  In the past 27 years, through the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation network I have met, experienced and learned so much:

I learned a bit of my family heritage from the Irish Ambassador to the US while volunteering at a registration table for a DC event;

I had an exceptional experience at a Leadership Summit bringing together scholars from across the many years of the program;

I heard from award winners from the International Center for Journalists, courageous leaders who are defending the freedom of the press;

I have connected to the stories of true difference makers including:

I had the honor of serving on an interview committee to help select a recent class of scholars - the accomplishments of the applicants reflected both exceptional achievement and limitless potential; and 

More recently, I have been honored to grow through service on the Coca-Cola Scholars Alumni Advisory Board.

So, this Giving Tuesday I am giving to continue invest in the Coca-Cola Scholars network ... connections that cross campus lines, political parties, state and national boundaries, disciplines and generations. 

As 1995 Coca-Cola Scholar Nakeesha Seneb observed,
"If you have more than 5,000 people
driven to make an impact on the world,
and they have this incredible connection,
a lot of change can certainly happen.”   

Coca-Cola Scholars, I challenge you to join me in investing in our capacity as a network, to support what we can do collectively. Together, we can all be better agents of change: