“As you anticipate your future, what role do you hope to play in making this a better world?”
This question is perhaps the most important question on the application for the Gertrude Lischesky - Chapter DU P.E.O. Scholarship. P.E.O. is a philanthropic educational organization where women celebrate the advancement of women; educate women through scholarships, grants, awards, and loans; and motivate women to achieve their highest aspirations.
As a member of Chapter DU, Gertrude Lischesky established the scholarship with her local Great Bend chapter by designating a bequest in her will. Mrs. Lischesky wanted her gift to establish a scholarship for female graduates of Great Bend High School who attended a Kansas college or Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri, who were wishing to further their education. Since the scholarship was established in 1969, 55 young women have benefited from her generosity.
One of the first recipients of the Gertrude Lischesky Scholarship was Karla (Marietta) Norsworthy. Receiving this scholarship as a Great Bend High School senior allowed her to achieve her educational dreams and goals. Karla graduated from Kansas State University in 1979 thanks in part to the financial assistance from this scholarship. In fact, Karla reflects that she was able to graduate in three years when the Great Bend PEO provided additional financial support for a summer semester when she had only $50 in her bank account.
Today, with a successful career and family in North Carolina, Karla reflects on receiving the scholarship, “I have benefitted from generous mentors and colleagues throughout my career. As I prepare to retire from IBM, my thoughts return to the women of the Great Bend PEO who were instrumental in the first part of my journey, which began as a student at Kansas State University. I’ve often wondered if these women realized what a difference their support made in my life. I’m really pleased to be able to thank them and also help to fund additional scholarships for upcoming graduates.”
Taking the original scholarship question to heart, she realized she wanted a way to pay it forward so that other young women had the same opportunity to further their education. She worked with the Golden Belt Community Foundation to establish the Gertrude Lischesky Alumni Scholarship Fund, a new endowment that will continue to pay it forward by supporting the scholarships awarded by Chapter DU. It is hoped that other Gertrude Lischesky Scholarship recipients will take this opportunity to also pay it forward and contribute to this new alumni fund.
This spring the first grant from the Gertrude Lischesky Alumni Scholarship Fund will be awarded to provide additional scholarships to young women at Great Bend High School. This year Chapter DU will use the grant from this new endowment to award one new scholarship and to help renew a past recipient’s scholarship. As the endowment builds, even more young women will be given the same opportunity to further their education.
At $11.5 million in total assets and more than 140 funds under management, the Golden Belt Community Foundation has been connecting people who care to causes that matter since 1996. For more information about the Golden Belt Community Foundation or the Gertrude Lischesky Alumni Endowment Fund, call (620) 792-3000 or visit their website at www.goldenbeltcf.org.