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Archives for : altruism

The most important thing I’ve done with my life so far

The most important thing I’ve done with my life so far has finally arrived: The Dominic Canare “Take a little, leave a lot” Scholarship.

The “Take a Little, Leave a Lot” Scholarship

I signed and delivered the check to WSU today; so I guess it’s official! The “Take a Little, Leave a Lot” Scholarship will be awarded for the first time, Spring 2012, to a student in the College of Education at Wichita State University. That student will receive $1,000 for the semester, since I sort of missed the Fall semester. Next year, the funds will go to a different college (probably Engineering), and the recipient will receive $500 for the Fall, and another $500 for the Spring.

Winning! :)

  • No recipient will be excluded from consideration based on race, religion, color, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, marital status, status as a veteran, or disability.
  • $1,000 scholarship to be awarded each academic year, even amounts by semesters.
  • Award will be made without regard to financial need.
  • Recipient must have and maintain a minimum 3.5 grade point average.
  • Candidates will explain, via one page essay, how the support from this fund and the eventual fulfillment of their academic endeavors will lead them to create a better world for current and future generations. Candidates should describe how, by way of great intellect and innovation, they will create new or improve existing educational processes, methodologies, and/or learning environments. Successful candidates will characterize the manner in which their impact will directly influence a more cognitive, cognizant, competent, and conscience population.
  • The Scholarship Office, a department within the Division of Campus Life and University Relations of Wichita State University, will administer the scholarship and make the award based on recommendations submitted by the College or School receiving the scholarship for that given year.
  • The scholarship may not be renewed.

Scholarship Guidelines, Part II

If I award my scholarship through the WSU Foundation, I won’t have a whole lot of control over who, exactly, will be awarded. Basically, I define a list of requirements and guidelines, and that is given to the specific college who will have a committee of people to review all scholarships and applicants. It makes sense for them to decide, I suppose, because they probably know their students better than I do. Right? Less fun, and far less personal for me though :-/

I have to admit, I haven’t put a lot of thought into the this lately. I suppose my mind has been preoccupied, but I really need to get it done before it becomes a chore.

Still need a witty, descriptive name too.

Scholarship Guidelines

I’ve decided that starting an endowment will need to wait for me to accomplish some of my short and mid-term financial goals. Until then, I’ll just be giving a yearly scholarship.

Besides coming up with a clever name for the scholarship, I need to decide on some guidelines / requirements. Here are some things I need to consider:

  • Full time and part time students eligible?
  • Need-based?
  • Minimum GPA?
  • Limit to a specific college or major?
  • Should I require some sort of personal statement or essay?


I’m leaning towards :

  • Allowing part time applicants, because I can’t think of any reason they’d be less deserving
  • NOT need-based, because I think the system is silly. I missed out on some “need” based aid because of my father’s “salary”
  • Minimum 3.5 GPA. While I don’t necessarily agree with the system of grade points and the subjectivity and false indication of grade assignments, I want people who are serious, and this is an easy filter
  • I’m probably most on-the-fence about limiting to a college or major. I’m thinking that this may be something that I change each year. Maybe this year it can be an Education major, next year a Computer Science major, then Earth Science, Mathematics, etc. Hmm…
  • I’d like to have some sort of supplicant to their application. I don’t want it to just be a checkbox on a list of scholarships. I want people to read the description and say, “hey, that’s me!” – and THEN apply for it. Ya know? I want it to be as personal to them as it is to me.


I’d like to hear what everyone’s thoughts are too. In a way, this scholarship isn’t JUST from me – it’s on behalf of everybody who wants to see the world improve, but maybe they don’t have the means to make this kind of change. So please share your thoughts :)

One Week Off

Every summer, Envision holds an Assistive Technology Camp to help students learn more about using computers and technology. I’ve been volunteering at the camp for the last few years, and it has truly become one of my favorite parts of the summer.

As a mentor at AT Camp, I get paired with a student (or two) to provide one-on-one (or one-on-two) assistance. This year, my mentee (is that a word?) was Jaclyn, a 15 year old sophomore. Jaclyn wants to be a cosmetologist (hair) and wants to do her post-high school studies in Michigan. She has no vision in one eye and very limited tunnel-vision in the other. Despite that, she manages to navigate well with the help of a white cane. Jaclyn is very soft-spoken, diligent, and a very quick learner. She managed to complete all of her tasks and assignments early.

On the last day of the camp, a graduation ceremony was held where students were applauded by their families. We mentors were given a special thanks, and I was very lucky to receive a thank-you note from Jaclyn herself. Despite now having negative vacation hours at work, it was unquestionably worth it.

It’s a humbling experience every time, but perhaps one of the most profound components is watching Estin work. I was first introduced to Estin 4 years ago as his mentor. It was my first time volunteering at AT Camp, and his first time attending. He’s now a sophomore at Wichita State and had split instructor responsibilities for the “Beginner’s” side of the camp. Watching the blind-lead-the-blind wasn’t anything like it sounds. Estin has truly come a long way, and his passion for teaching will take him far. I’m very proud to say that I know him.

Besides volunteering, I managed to squeeze quite a bit into my week off work. Yard work, volleyball, mini-golf, driving range, tennis, disc golf, ping pong, cook-out… even got to watch a couple of movies! I also managed to find the time to get to Bank of America to open a couple of new accounts. Now when I’m traveling and need cash, I should be able to find an ATM and avoid the surcharges. I also changed my car insurance and will be saving a couple hundred dollars every 6 months. Win.

I really do miss being home during the week. I suppose I’m still in the transition phase and getting use the the lifestyle. In some ways it is kind of nice to get away from everything for a little while, but there’s no question that I like being home more than away. This week at work should be interesting. While I was off, I peeked into my inbox a couple of times and noticed quite a bit of activity. It seems that there will probably be plenty for me to do now that I’m back… so here we go, back to regular life.

The ____ Endowment Scholarship

In case you missed it…

I met with a representative of the WSU Foundation last week. We got to know each other and he explained some of the different options available for giving. One option he explained to me was endowment scholarships.

Basically, I’d give WSU a large sum of money (2011 minimum is $15k, 2012 minimum is $25k). WSU will invest that money for one year (after I finish paying it off (which I would have 5 years to do)), and then every year after that they use the returns on investment as scholarship money. The sum I donate is never awarded, so it never depletes… it would continue to fund scholarships FOREVER (presumably)! Plus, I could continue to add funds to my endowment (which would proportionally increase the scholarship amount).

Presently, these types of gifts return 4.25% (annually?), which seems pretty healthy to me (admittedly, I don’t really know much about money or investing…). The more I think about it though, I wonder if I should just invest the money myself and use the returns for a scholarship every year. This is appealing because $25k is, frankly, a lot of money. I trust that the WSU Foundation would handle it well, but I wonder if our ideals may divert over the course of the years.

For example, what if WSU closes their College of Education in 10 years. I don’t think I could just call them up and say, “Hey, you know that money I gave you? I want to give it to someone else now.”

So there’s plenty to consider still, but the ball is rolling at least :)

In case anyone is wondering, I officially have less than $14,000 left to pay on my educational loans. This puts me at under half of what I borrowed+interest.

Yea, free money!

I have SO MUCH respect for educators. They are EASILY the most important people in any society. I truly believe that we can improve the world simply through better education.

It depresses me that we can find a way to pay entertainers SO MUCH and educators SO LITTLE. Of course, because educators aren’t well-payed, it’s difficult to attract talent. Which is exactly why you should recognize a GOOD educator when you see one. Buy them a card, tell them thanks, do SOMETHING to let them know that they are appreciated – because they aren’t doing it for the money. They’re doing it for YOU. For everybody.

I’d like to teach. I really would… and I think I’d be alright at it. Fortunately for me (but unfortunately for academia), I have more lucrative skills that I can use to improve the world in an important way. Probably not as ultimately important as improving education though. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, and I’m very excited to announce that…


I don’t want people to think that I have so much money that I don’t know what to do with it. Believe me, that’s not the case. Hell, I’ve still got my OWN educational debt! Not to mention future degree aspirations, my mortgage, a car payment, retirement, my (future) kids’ college funds, etc, etc, etc…

But I’m hoping this scholarship becomes more than just $1,000 in someone’s pocket. I want to help someone who will improve the world in a way that I cannot. I want people to see me (a regular guy with regular debt and regular bills and regular problems) taking the initiative to do what I can for something I truly believe in.

There are still a lot of things to decide, and I really don’t know how to go about setting something like this up. I could (and have) just donate to a general scholarship fund, but I want more control. I’ve seen too many “honor” students with a free-ride and no ambition. This scholarship is about improving the world, and it’s meant for someone whose goals are in-line with that.