Minerva provides scholarships to adult women from Gig Harbor and the Key Peninsula area who are returning to school after taking time off to work and raise their families.
Founders and initial contributors
The fund was created in 1991 by three members of the Gig Harbor Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Colonel Sybil Mercer was an Army nurse and hospital administrator whose career was advanced because she earned a Master's Degree from the University of Washington. When Sybil inherited $5,000 from an uncle, she used this money to encourage women to aspire to higher education and approached two friends to join her in the effort. Colonel Florence Casey, a Ph. D. economist with the federal government, and Ruth Taylor, a local school librarian, agreed to donate $5,000 each if their friends at AAUW-Gig Harbor would raise an additional $15,000 to match the money the three founders contributed. Sharing the vision of the three founders of the importance of higher education for women, AAUW-Gig Harbor readily accepted their challenge.
Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula residents and many others have contributed generously to the Minerva Scholarship Fund for over 20 years. Together they created a fund that has grown large enough to allow scholarships to be awarded from earnings, while leaving the capital in the fund undisturbed.
For a cumulative donation of at least $10,000, Minerva will establish a named scholarship in honor or memory of a person or group. Minerva currently has eleven named scholarship accounts in addition to the general Minerva fund.
In determining the amount of scholarships to award each year, Minerva evaluates the funds in each Named Scholarship account, as well as the general Minerva account, and awards a scholarship equal to approximately five percent (5%) of the previous eight-quarters average balance from each account.
Minerva has been designated by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) publicly supported organization, and contributions are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.
Minerva Scholarship Fund Board of Directors
Patricia Mattox, President
Patricia Berger, Scholarship Chair
Diane Edison, Treasurer's Assistant
Gail Ferguson, Historian
Paula Florence, Treasurer
Carol Robinson, Secretary
Elizabeth Robinson, Marketing/Website
Mary Williams, AAUW/Gig Harbor
Sybil Mercer, Founder and Director Emeritus