Three million dollars is enough to send 120 students to college on full-ride scholarships with living allowances for a year, or to pay the full tuition of 330 for the same time. It’s a lot of money.
And it’s the amount donated by an anonymous group to establish a Rev. Pinckney Fund for education, in the name of the senator and pastor killed in the June 17th shooting at Mother Emanuel A.M.E., Charleston, South Carolina.
The fund, which will be jointly headed by a board of its own and by the Mother Emanuel AME Church leadership, will provide college and graduate studies scholarships for members of the church, the community around it, and particularly for the families of the victims of the shooting.
In announcing the donation, Reverend Norvel Goff, the interim pastor at the Charleston church, said “It is so appropriate to have a scholarship fund in the name of Reverend Pinckney as he highly valued education. It is our hope that the recipients of this gift will value education themselves further along in life.” He also said that the money will not only be used for members of the AME church congregations.
He is probably right that Pinckney would have found this fund appropriate. The son of an educator, he was well-read his whole life. He began preaching in his church at the age of 13, and was appointed pastor at 18. At 50, he graduated from Allen University and then went on to obtain a Master of Public Administration from the University of South Carolina in 1999 while serving as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives. Education was clearly a value he held dear.
Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, who will sit on the fund’s Board, said that the money came from outside the state, but would not disclose the donor. “To know that the children of this community will have increased access to an excellent education is so very heartwarming,” Riley said. “We are grateful for this gift for their future. The grace and courage of this church and its members is a light in the darkness of this tragedy. The generosity of these anonymous donors has touched all of us. This scholarship honors Reverend Clementa Pinckney in a way that provides building blocks for the future of our community and I know that he would be greatly honored. This gift will be an enduring legacy in his name.”