Photography By: Joseph V. Labolito
Thanks to a $4 million donation from the Brook J. Lenfest Foundation, deserving local high school students who graduate from Mastery Charter Schools or participate in the Philadelphia Futures program will be eligible for financial support to attend Temple University.
The Brook J. Lenfest Endowed Scholarship Fund at Temple will initially support six scholarships for incoming freshmen, starting in fall 2018, and will be renewable annually. The fund targets students with financial need from Mastery Charter Schools, of which Lenfest is the lead and founding funder, or those involved with Philadelphia Futures, a nonprofit that assists low-income, first-generation-to-college students. Second preference will be given to students who graduated from a public high school in the School District of Philadelphia.
“Brook’s commitment to the accessibility and affordability of education for students in Philadelphia is a perfect match for Temple,” President Richard M. Englert said. “Brook’s philanthropy continues to open doors for opportunity, and we are excited to welcome our first cohort of endowed Brook Lenfest Scholars.”
The university will designate a staff member to provide part-time support to the endowed Brook Lenfest Scholars during their time at Temple.
Lenfest previously supported Mastery and Philadelphia Futures graduates at Temple via a last-dollar scholarship, through which his foundation filled unmet financial need.
“We are very proud that those scholarship recipients attained an 80 percent graduation rate,” Lenfest said. “We hope that, with the additional support from Temple, the incoming scholars will do even better.”
He said the quality of Mastery and Philadelphia Futures, and how well they know their students, have been major factors in his philanthropy.
Lenfest added that he chose to endow the scholarship at Temple because the university is a local, affordable pathway for area students to obtain an excellent education. He has also established an endowed scholarship fund at Penn State University, his alma mater.
“To me, education is the big equalizer,” Lenfest said. “An education provides choice. A lot of anyone’s life is spent working, so an education gives you a way to lift yourself up, but more than making money, it gives you the choice to do something you enjoy doing. If these kids find a path at Temple that teaches them the different options they have to choose a career and find that work isn’t so much like work if they enjoy what they’re doing, then I think that’s a great success.”