A resident-led scholarship program at a Florida-based retirement community is allowing staff members — and now their children — to pursue their future career goals.
“The residents love it and they own it. It’s a total win-win with how successful it’s been,” Z. Allen Abbott, Ph.D., philanthropy specialist for Cypress Cove, told McKnight’s.
Cypress Cove recently awarded 14 educational scholarships for the spring 2020 academic term to staff members and their children. The retirement community, located in Fort Myers, FL, serves more than 600 residents and offers skilled nursing, independent and assisted living, rehabilitation and home health services.
This year’s scholarship recipients are:
- Paul Denova, a licensed practical nurse at at The Lodge, Cypress Coves’ 64-bed skilled nursing facility
- Abigail Pierre, the daughter of a Cypress Cove employee
- Travis Whiddon, a Cypress Cove line cook
- Sephora Augustin, a certified nursing assisted at The Lodge
- Jeff Cassamajor, the son of an employee
- Marc Charles, a home health aide with Cypress at Home
- Madison Cunningham, the daughter of an employee
- Evelyn Alpizar, a Cypress Cove housekeeper
- Shantae Gayle, a dining services employee
- Dapheline Joceline, the daughter of an employee
- Anna Laguerrer, the daughter of an employee
- Kimberly Scott, an MDS coordinator for The Lodge
- Nancy Gaspard, a CNA for The Lodge
- Sergine Gaspard, Nancy’s Gaspard’s daughter
Nancy and Sergine Gaspard are the first mother-daughter duo to be awarded the scholarship, according to Abbott.
The scholarship program first started in 2018 as an effort to attract and retain employees and affirm their importance, while also getting residents involved, Abbott explained.
During its first year, the resident-led initiative was able to raise about $100,000 — with scholarships being awarded to 12 staff members.
“That was so successful that we kept doing it every semester since then,” Abbott said.
In 2019, the program raised $254,000 and has expanded the scholarship program to also feature named and endowed scholarships. Since 2018, a total of 36 employees have been awarded scholarships. The program expanded this year to include employees’ children.
Abbott said residents love the program because it allows them to let their legacy live on for future generations. They also get to see first-hand how the funding impacts employees’ lives.
“It’s rewarding because they know the recipients. It’s their nurses, it’s the people who work in dining services,” Abbott said.
“They’re seeing it stay with their community,” added Tily Saye, a health services administrative assistant for The Lodge and one of the first scholarship recipients. “It comes back full circle.”