Local historic church awards over $100,000 in college scholarships after annual “Scholathon” event

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A local historic church in Jacksonville passes it on to college students by giving away over $100,000 in scholarships.

Bethel Church has been part of the Jacksonville congregation since 1838 and has ministered to more than 10,000 people over the years. The church issued checks to more than 100 students Sunday after the Dollars For Scholars Education 2022 Scholarthon.

The Scholarthon took place virtually on July 31, raising more than $100,000 in six hours.

The church was unable to conduct its traditional walk-a-thon to raise money for scholarships due to the pandemic, but Bishop Rudolph McKissick, Jr. found a way to continue changing lives for the better with a virtual scholarship.

“I had this creative idea to host a six-hour scholarship telethon. This is our third year – each year gets bigger – this year we raised over $115,000 and awarded 110 scholarships. Donors were local, with some from across the country including the Divine Nine and many household names,” said McKissick, Jr..

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The event also had big name attendees donating to the cause.

“We’ve had three HBCU Presidents, Ben Crump, Tamika Mallory and Reverend Al Sharpton – so we have a multitude of national folks who are friends who have unexpectedly also donated. That made it very different and unique, and next year we’re going even higher,” said McKissick, Jr..

Robert Williams was a scholar at Jean Ribault High School. He won a $1,000 scholarship.

“In order for the church to be able to provide $1,000 in scholarships to so many people, they help so much with tuition, books and everything. Even though we’re still at a distance, we still need resources and things like that for the church to provide for all members, it’s just great. We really appreciate that,” Williams said.

Trinity Webster-Bass is a sophomore in broadcast journalism at Howard University. She called the grant “very helpful.”

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“It really relieves the financial burden. I already have a scholarship, but any extra money always counts because books are expensive, things for extra programs that also have extra funding, so getting extra money really helps,” Webster-Bass said.

Seqoya Williams is currently a student at Florida State College in Jacksonville and also received a scholarship.

“This check helps me. I have a daughter so it helps me. I can pay for the tuition and go to school without any worries. I am grateful for the Scholarhon. I’m so thankful that this church allows us to do things like this,” Williams said.

Bethel Church will also be giving away backpacks to Andrew Robinson Elementary School on August 13th. Aetna will purchase 500 backpacks to help, and church members will purchase and donate the materials to fill the backpacks for the event.

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