The nonprofit Alliance of Women Executives (AWE) made the college dreams of 20 Palm Beach County young women come true when the organization awarded $30,000 in scholarships to 20 deserving graduates at the organization’s scholarship awards ceremony, held June 23 via Zoom, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coming from all walks of life, and with unique stories and often challenging backgrounds, eight of the recipients will be attending Palm Beach State College and 12 will become Florida Atlantic University students. Several are the first generation in their family to attend college, and all are accomplished both academically and in their service to the community. Their aspirations are equally ambitious, as they plan to pursue a variety of degrees from nursing, law and medicine to criminology and the arts.
Founded four years ago by business executive Vicki Tate, AWE offers professional and entrepreneurial women networking opportunities to share their business experience and knowledge while also promoting higher education for the next generation of women through academic scholarships. With the inclusion of the 2020 awards, a total of 36 scholarships have been granted to young women of promise since the organization’s inception.
“I am humbled and overwhelmed by our success in such a short time,” Tate said. “It’s a testament to the support of the community at large, the passion of the women who’ve become AWE members, and the promise of these incredible, college-bound young women. I had the original vision, but they are responsible for the realization of the vision.”
The AWE motto is, “She believed she could, so she did,” and the growth of AWE in four short years reflects a true embodiment of that maxim. “The first year of our existence, we offered just one scholarship. The next year, there were four, and last year we gave out 12 scholarships,” said AWE Vice President Terri Drew, administrator of the Abacoa Golf Club. “This year, through strategic networking and sheer willpower, we were able to increase the scholarship count to 20, which is really an AWEsome achievement.”
Obtaining the extra funding alleviates some of the financial pressure the girls face as they seek their higher education. Helping these young future leaders achieve their ambitious goals is a key reason many companies and individuals have become AWE scholarship sponsors, including the BallenIsles Charity Foundation, Theodore Babbitt and Jessica Cheatham Babbitt, Live Well Chiropractic, K&E Travel and many more, including several real estate teams who donate after the closing of each property.
“I can’t thank the scholarship underwriters and our membership enough for making this a banner year for AWE,” Tate said. “The support the members are providing each other during this difficult time, coupled with the much-needed financial help we’re able to give these young women, has made our mission even more relevant.”
Founding Board Member Sharon McCormick, director of marketing for Redevelopment Management Associates, is optimistic about the future of the organization. “Though COVID-19 will surely present challenges for the year ahead, I am confident they will be overcome,” she said.
AWE provides a platform to bring like-minded professional women together, sharing knowledge, experiences and networking opportunities, while also making an impact on future generations of young women in Palm Beach by promoting higher education and making it accessible to them through scholarship awards. In 2019, the organization was awarded the prestigious “Advocates for Children Award” by Florida’s Children First in recognition of work done to provide funding for youth from foster care and other disadvantaged populations to attain a higher education.