LEAP Foundation DC has announced that, in addition to its existing scholarship program, it will annually award the Eleanor Holmes Norton Scholarship, named in honor of the congresswoman’s tireless efforts as a stateswoman and her longstanding support of the Foundation. Bucknell University pre-med student Gissell Botero will be the first individual to receive the scholarship, and she will be recognized at the Foundation’s annual toy drive Tuesday, December 19, 2017,
Botero, an alumni of the Latino Student Fund (LSF), immigrated to the United States with her mother when she was 11 years old. The LSF recognized her commitment and dedication to her education by providing her with the Posse Foundation Scholarship, which offered a full ride to the school of her choice. She will use the Foundation’s $1,000 Eleanor Holmes Norton Scholarship to continue her education in Copenhagen, where she plans to pursue a degree in the medical field.
LEAP founder and CEO Dr. Clayton Lawrence understands the exponential power and effect of education on underserved youth, so, in 2009, he created the Foundation as a way to address the unmet social and health needs of the people of the District of Columbia. LEAP “builds bridges between hope and achievement in the District of Columbia” by providing educational and training opportunities that advocate for the health and wellness of community members.
“This particular student comes from a family of immigrants,”
Congresswoman Norton has been a longstanding and vital supporter of the Foundation in all of its efforts to ensure that young men and women in Washington, D.C., have every opportunity they need to pursue educational success. She joined Congress as a national figure who had been a civil rights and feminist leader, tenured professor of law, and board member of three Fortune 500 companies. One survey named the congresswoman as one of the 100 most important American women, while another called her the most powerful woman in Washington. Norton’s work in the District has allowed her to provide up to $10,000 per year for all D.C. high school graduates to attend any public U.S. college or university and up to $2,500 per year to many private colleges and universities. She has brought unique economic benefits to the constituents of the District of Columbia, increased homeownership with a homebuyer tax credit, and introduced business tax incentives that provide a significant wage credit for employing D.C. residents. A recipient of more than 50 honorary degrees, Congresswoman Norton said she is honored to be recognized for her work on behalf of the youth of the District of Columbia through the Foundation’s scholarship.
It is specifically Norton’s commitment to the Clayton G. Lawrence Endowment for Academic Excellence, which is awarded by the Foundation’s program, that prompted Lawrence to name a scholarship in her honor.
“Congresswoman Norton has been an avid supporter of that endowment, which has led to further success of our program,” Lawrence said. “We have been able to make our experiences even more enriching by hosting our award recipients on Capitol Hill, thanks to her support. Her work is a testament to how important she feels education is in the lives of the citizens and her efforts to encourage them to lead stronger lives.”