Students to Benefit From Foundation, Franklin's Largesse

Published 05.01.2000


Beginning this fall, students at Pennsylvania College of Technology will be eligible to receive scholarships derived from funds that Benjamin Franklin bequeathed upon his death 210 years ago.

The available funds − $5,000 (10 students at $500 per student) − will be awarded from the Williamsport-Lycoming Foundation-Benjamin Franklin Scholarship to students enrolled at Penn College for the 2000-01 academic year.

In his 1788 will, Franklin, who died in 1790, left 1,000 pounds sterling (about $4,000) to the City of Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania, directing that the money not be accessed until 200 years after his death. In 1990, the state Legislature decided to allocate and distribute the funds, which by then had grown to $1.5 million, to various foundations.

The Williamsport-Lycoming Foundation received a distribution of approximately $64,000, which was endowed and invested until a worthy grant-making project was identified that was consistent with Ben Franklin's intentions. Franklin believed community leaders have a responsibility to help others advance in life, especially in training young, skilled workers.

Donor's Criteria for the scholarship recipients at Penn College are:

  • Students must be enrolled in an approved Tech Prep high school program and subsequently enroll in a certificate or associate-degree program at Penn College. In high schools without approved Tech Prep programs, students must be enrolled in a vocational-technical program and subsequently enroll in a certificate or associate-degree program at Penn College.
  • Students must graduate from schools in counties that are served by the Williamsport-Lycoming Foundation's Franklin Fund Service Area (Bradford, Clinton, Lycoming, Potter, Sullivan and Tioga counties)
  • First-time applicants must have a grade-point average of "B" or higher
  • Students must submit a writing sample as defined by the Penn College Tech Prep office
  • Students must be enrolled full time at the College
  • Preference will be given to continuing students in subsequent years if a cumulative GPA of 2.8 is maintained

Franklin, a printer, inventor, scientist, statesman, philosopher, diplomat and philanthropist, was instrumental in securing the money, arms and men needed to win the American Revolution. Franklin also helped forge our nation, assisting Thomas Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence .

Franklin was renowned for community service, establishing the first lending library in the original 13 colonies, a hospital, the University of Pennsylvania, the American Philosophical Society and a fire insurance company. Franklin was born in Boston in 1706, and he established his own shop as a printer and publisher in Philadelphia in 1728.

"What a wonderful way to address the spirit of Ben Franklin's bequest," said Kimberley Pittman-Schulz, Williamsport-Lycoming Foundation president. "The Foundation's partnership with Penn College to provide student scholarships is consistent with the Foundation strategic plan's emphasis on economic and job growth − clearly a skilled labor pool goes hand-in-hand with a quality job market."

Dennis L. Correll, associate dean for institutional advancement at the College, added: "Penn College, much like Ben Franklin, believes we all have a responsibility to help others advance in life, especially in training skilled workers. It is clear that Ben Franklin's bequest represents the ultimate in planned giving. His foresight and thoughtfulness are responsible for improvements in the quality of life of individuals and communities throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."