Many of the funds at the Community Foundation have interesting and inspirational backstories. The story of the George and Pearl Strickland Scholarship Fund is a reminder of the importance of African American philanthropy in Atlanta. As the February 15 deadline for scholarship applications approaches, it’s important to reflect on how one gift can leave a lasting legacy.
Pearl Strickland achieved a dream that was not possible for a lot of African Americans at the time, including her husband George, by graduating from Atlanta’s Clark College with a degree in home economics in 1909. Although George left school at a young age to help support his family, he went on to have a successful, 43-year long railroad career. Through his career and real estate investments, he became one of the wealthiest African Americans in his community. While George and Pearl Strickland achieved their dreams in different ways, they had a common goal: helping the children of family and friends pursue college degrees.
When she passed away in 1984, Pearl’s estate established a scholarship fund at the Community Foundation. The original gift of $500,000 has grown to more than $2 million today, with more than $840,000 distributed in scholarships to date.
George and Pearl’s legacy continues to invest in the futures of students pursuing an education at the historically black colleges and universities at the Atlanta University Center. The George and Pearl Strickland Scholarship Fund is specifically earmarked to assist Georgia students attending undergraduate and graduate programs at Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University.
For more information on the George and Pearl Strickland Scholarship Fund and the others available from the Community Foundation, including application instructions, click here.