Stanly students receives scholarships from Golden LEAF Foundation

The Golden LEAF Foundation has announced that 215 rural North Carolina students were selected to receive up to a $14,000 Golden LEAF Scholarship, including two in Stanly County.

High school seniors entering college as first year students are eligible for a $3,500 scholarship each year for up to four years of undergraduate study at a participating four-year North Carolina college or university.

Community college transfer students are eligible for $3,500 a year for up to three years of undergraduate study.

Recipients from rural or economically distressed North Carolina counties are selected based on future career goals and an expressed intent to contribute to the stateʼs rural communities upon graduation from college.

The Golden LEAF Foundation established the Golden LEAF Scholarship Program to broaden educational opportunities and provide support to students from rural counties with the goal that are graduation recipients will return and contribute back to rural communities. The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA) administers the program and selects students for awards.

“We are proud to award scholarships to hardworking and bright students with deep roots in their rural communities,” said Scott T. Hamilton, Golden LEAF Foundation president and chief executive officer. “These students were selected out of a pool of more than 1,700 applicants. We look forward to the future success of these scholarship recipients as they follow their education pursuits and develop into North Carolina’s next generation of rural leaders.”

Scholarship recipients may also apply for the Golden LEAF Rural Internship Initiative. The Rural Internship Initiative provides Golden LEAF Scholars with professional work experience related to their career field in a rural North Carolina community. The Golden LEAF Foundation provides funding to pay interns $15/hour for up to 400 hours of work. Internships take place over 8-10 weeks, between June and August.

“Congratulations to the students in my district from Stanly County who have received the Golden LEAF Scholarship,” said Sen. Carl Ford. “This prestigious scholarship is given to students who exemplify leadership skills and each student is deserving of this opportunity. I am very proud of them and what their future holds.”

“I am honored to recognize Yeika and Jameel from Stanly County,” added Rep. Wayne Sasser. “Congratulations on receiving a Golden LEAF Scholarship. This award symbolizes your commitment to your community and your future selves.”

The newly selected 2023-24 Golden LEAF Scholarship recipients are Yeika Mercado-Lopez of Stanly Early College High School who is headed to UNC – Wilmington and Jameel Shaheed of South Stanly High School who is headed to East Carolina University.

The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to receive a portion of North Carolinaʼs funding from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers.

For more than 20 years, Golden LEAF has worked to increase economic opportunity in North Carolinaʼs rural and tobacco-dependent communities through leadership in grantmaking, collaboration, innovation, and stewardship as an independent and perpetual foundation.