Twenty-five years ago, Nadege Touzin-Gunn graduated from Atlantic High School in Delray Beach with high grades but no idea how to afford college and achieve her dream of being a doctor.
Then she got a call from representatives of the George Snow Scholarship Fund, based in Boca Raton.
“She wanted to go to medical school, and now she’s a doctor,” said Tim Snow, president of the scholarship fund, which was established in 1982. “We’re really helping the brightest and most deserving kids in Palm Beach County.”
Touzin-Gunn, a gastroenterologist and mother of three in Waco, Texas, is one of 2,000-plus people who have reached their college dreams thanks in part to the Snow fund.
In May, 212 teenagers received word that they had been chosen as this year’s scholarship winners, a GSSF record for a single year.
“We keep seeing more kids needing more help,” Snow said. “We ask ourselves, ‘would we do this for our own kids,’ and the answer is ‘yes.’”
Money for the fund comes from events such as Boca’s Ballroom Battle, an annual golf tournament and the Rhinestone Cowboy Ball, and from other individual donors.
Snow’s pleas for more aid were answered this year. Thanks to a generous donor, the amount of money awarded came to more than $4 million, about double the amount given in 2022. In 1982, the first year of the scholarship, the amount awarded was $8,000.
Jude Saincyr, 19, is a 2022 graduate of Atlantic High School. The scholarship recipient attends Florida Atlantic University and plans to major in health science and become a pediatric nurse practitioner.
“Thanks to the George Snow scholarship, I can afford school, I have access to connections and support,” Saincyr said. “I can look to them whenever I need assistance.”
What sets the Snow fund apart from other scholarship providers is its holistic approach to supporting scholars. Support services include care packages; medical exams required by students’ colleges or universities; haircuts prior to starting school; supplies and dorm room essentials such as duffle bags, backpacks and notebooks; computers; internship opportunities, and funding for unexpected hardships like medical or family emergencies.
“One of my scholarship donors through George Snow, Jan Dymtrow, has become a mentor,” Saincyr said. “I can open up to her in ways that I would not be able to with other scholarships.”
Saincyr was awarded three scholarships by the fund. Each supports her during all four years of her undergraduate education.
Like the other winners, she applied during her senior year of high school. Her application was chosen to move on, and she was invited to an interview with the selection committee.
How it all began
Tim Snow, 66, wanted to do something to keep the memory of his father alive after he died in a helicopter accident in 1980.
George Snow moved to Boca Raton in 1958 to take a position as a math teacher at Seacrest High, what is now Atlantic High School.
Later, he moved his career into real estate and construction. But he always remembered the importance of education and during his lifetime “was active in trying to help those individuals who were trying to help themselves,” his son said.
These same ideals shape the mission of the nonprofit George Snow Scholarship Fund. The fund’s goal is to ensure that no student is deprived of an education due to a shortage of money or a lack of support.
“We tell our scholarship winners that they’re part of the family and we really treat them as our own kids,” Tim Snow said.
As for as Touzin-Gunn, she recently sent a donation to the GSSF. Many of the graduates of the program have given back in various ways, and Snow enjoys staying in touch.
In the envelope with her donation, Touzin-Gunn sent a picture of her three children.
“Those three kids aren’t going to have the same challenges their mom had,” Snow said. “They will break that cycle of financial struggle.”
To learn more about the George Snow Scholarship Fund, contact the GSSF office, 561-347-6799, or visit https://scholarship.org. Connect on facebook.com/snowscholarship or twitter.com/snowscholarship or contact Laura Gilli, director of special events, at LGilli@scholarship.org.