BY Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Residents of Vi at Grayhawk wanted to honor the employees and their children, so they created a scholarship fund.
Since it was founded in 2003, Vi’s residents have given $2.5 million to caregivers and their dependents.
“The foundation came into being shortly after the community opened,” says Dr. Jane McGrath, Vi resident.
“A group of our residents started talking about how we all had great previous lives, but now that we were in a new life here in our community, we should figure out a way to give back to this group who does so much for us here.”
During discussions, one thing rose to the top—everyone believed in education.
“One of the best ways we could invest in our employees and their dependents was to help further their education,” she says.
The first year, six academic scholarships were awarded, McGrath says. For the 2019-20 school year, Vi awarded 35 scholarships totaling $211,286. The next school year they increased it, offering 37 scholarships totaling $267,419.
“We’ve just kind of grown from there,” she adds. “The foundation is a 501(c)(3). Our residents are just so education and philanthropic minded. Every year, we are astounded, amazed and thrilled that our residents continue to see the value of investing in employees and dependents.”
McGrath knows a thing or two about education. She was a teacher in the Maricopa Community College District, focusing on college reading, study skills, critical thinking and journalism.
She says she’s heard great stories from employees who have gone on to study.
“A dining room server, we were able to support his work through his undergraduate and then continuing through to his master’s degree in social work,” she says.
“We watched him then move into a role as a director of social services for one of our other Vi communities in another state. It’s great just knowing we had a small part in helping him achieve his dream.”