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Scholarships Light Way for Donors/Recipients at College

April 14, 2008
Without the help provided by scholarships, the opportunity to achieve a higher education and better contribute to their community would be lost for many. When accepting one of the numerous scholarships available at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, students often note how much the funds helped them financially. A poignant glow radiates when students speak about how the scholarship made them feel-as if someone believed in them and shined a light on their future.
Brambrink family
Anoka-Ramsey Community College was a family affair for the Brambrink family. (from left) Jerry Brambrink was an avid supporter and now has a memorial scholarship in his name; Jim Brambrink attended classes; Andrea Brambrink graduated from the college, was employed in Anoka-Ramsey's KidU and TRIO programs; Lynnette Brambrink retired after 27 years of employment at the college; and Rick Brambrink was employed at the college bookstore and maintenance departments in 1998. The family is hoping the community will honor Jerry Brambrink's memory by contributing to the scholarship fund in his name.

While organizations establish many of the available scholarships, others emerge from the small, strong light of a single individual that spreads to others. Such is the case with the new Jerry Brambrink Memorial Scholarship.

Family and friends of Jerry Brambrink, who passed away in May 2007, recently established a scholarship fund for Cambridge Campus students to honor Jerry's understanding of how to survive disappointment and make life better afterward. He got involved with Anoka-Ramsey through his wife, Lynnette, who was a college employee for 27 years.

When Jerry Brambrink stopped working in 2004 due to rheumatoid arthritis, he assisted his wife with tasks related to her duties fundraising for Cambridge Campus scholarships.

"Jerry would help me prepare for fundraising events such as the Flea Market and Scholardazzle," says his wife. "He accompanied me to pick up donated items anywhere from Hinckley to Albertville. Even though his arthritis was painful, he kept helping me. One time he even arrived at five in the morning to help set up a fundraising event and used his truck headlights to light the way for other volunteers."

Cambridge Campus Foundation board member, Juanita Peterson, recalls the same event. "The Cambridge Campus Foundation is a small organization of local folks," Peterson says. "We had an enthusiastic faculty member suggest a flea market as a fund raiser. Jerry Brambrink was there with his pickup and, although he had severe physical problems, he was a great help in hauling and moving things around. We started out around 5 a.m., and Jerry Brambrink and another person used their truck lights to provide early morning illumination. Jerry remained until the last bit of cleanup was done."

Today, Jerry's light shines through a one-time $500 memorial scholarship, but the family hopes the community will step forward to help illuminate his memory by sustaining the fund for many years through new gifts to the fund.

"Anyone can donate to Jerry's scholarship fund," Lynnette notes. "Once the fund hits $5,000, the scholarship will be permanent, and every year the earned interest will fund another scholarship for another student. This would be such a tribute to Jerry and a great opportunity for the students at the Cambridge Campus, most of who attend part-time (six to 11 credits per semester) and are ineligible for many scholarships."

According to his wife, Jerry's actions spoke much more loudly than his words. He represented the blue-collar worker that constitutes the majority of Isanti County. Drafted in the Army to serve in the Vietnam War, he did not have or take the opportunity to attend college. Instead, as a laborer, he was laid-off from work twice.

This is why, according to Lynnette, the scholarship in his name was established for someone who did not go to college immediately after high school, but later discovered a college education was a path to a better life.

"No gift is too small and, with many gifts, we can make Jerry’s scholarship last indefinitely," Lynnette adds. "Donations are tax-deductible. Some businesses even offer a matching gift program, so if an employee donates, the business may match the donation dollar-for-dollar. There is no administrative overhead for scholarships either --all of the donations go to the funds for future scholarships."

More about Scholarships
Scholarships can be established by individuals, families, organizations or businesses, and can be contributed to by more than one person. There are three basic types of scholarships:

  • Currently the scholarship in Jerry Brambrink's name is a memorial scholarship. This type of scholarship is usually a one-time donation of at least $500, given in memory of and named for a person who has passed away. This scholarship is awarded one-time. If enough funds are donated, a memorial scholarship is readily convertible into an annual or endowed fund (see below).
  • An annual scholarship is another option. This fund, if sustained, allows for scholarships year after year. The annual award is usually larger than a memorial scholarship, and the gifts are paid over time. The Coon Rapids Campus Foundation requires a five-year commitment for a total minimum contribution of $5,000 paid over five years. The Cambridge Campus Foundation is currently establishing requirements.
  • An endowed scholarship is a third fund option. The donor commits to a large gift that establishes an endowment or money that is never spent. The earned interest from the endowment pays for the annual scholarship award. Some donors prefer this type of fund because the perpetuity of the endowment leaves a legacy for many years to come. The Coon Rapids Campus Foundation requires a minimum endowment of $10,000 paid over five years or less. The Cambridge Campus Foundation currently requires a minimum of $5,000.

"The primary mission of Anoka-Ramsey's two campus foundations is to increase access and opportunity for students," says the college's Director of Institutional Advancement Evelyn Gedde. "This becomes increasingly critical as the costs of higher education continue to rise, and students are less and less able to afford college. Every year each of our campus foundations seeks to establish new scholarships as well as raise funds to keep the value of our scholarships commensurate with tuition increases."

To contribute to the Brambrink Memorial Scholarship or any other scholarship, send a check payable to the Cambridge Campus Foundation, and mail it to Anoka-Ramsey Community College, 300 Spirit River Dr., Cambridge, MN 55008. For information about creating a scholarship fund, contact Gedde at 763-433-1189.