When The Ford Family Foundation President Anne Kubisch recently took her first tour of Eastern Oregon, she met a few Ford Scholar Alumni and was inspired by their commitment to their rural communities and realized the great resource that alumni are to the Foundation.
Kubisch said that Director of Scholarship Programs Denise Callahan was hired last fall in part because of her extensive background in alumni work. Callahan’s goal is to create more alumni engagement and not only build relationships with each other but with other aspects of the Foundation.
With Callahan’s help, Kubisch intends to do more internally to support the Ford Scholar Alumni Association.
Kubisch suggested three ways that alumni can take action: help recruit a new generation of Scholars; mentor Scholars and alumni; and be an active part of an employment network.
Kubisch encourages alumni to provide career advice to one another. When alumni are in their 30s with families, they don’t have a lot of time to give back.
“Make it easy for you to contribute,” Kubisch said.
Eventually, Kubisch would like to see graduates of the Ford Opportunity Program and the Ford ReStart Program join the FSAA. With more than 4,000 people with Ford Family Scholarships, Kubisch said that is a huge resource. “It would enrich and diversify the network.”
Although she would like to see all scholarship recipients work together in one alumni association, she said it’s up to the FSAA to consider inviting the other groups of graduates to the organization.
One thing Kubisch has quickly learned as president of the Foundation is that the Ford Scholar Program is impressive and was “near and dear to Kenneth Ford’s heart.” It’s still a flagship program and is something to be proud of.