More than 270 people were in attendance May 3 at the Collegiate Directions, Inc. 8th Annual Spring Benefit. The festive event, held at the Four Seasons, Georgetown, was the largest in the organization’s history, and raised more than $450,000 to support the organization’s programs that help low-income, first-generation-to-college students apply, get accepted to, and graduate from college.
Guests were greeted by CDI President Amma Felix who presented the inaugural Marks Medal for Academic Excellence and Career Achievement to Eric L. Motley Ph.D., Executive Vice President of the Aspen Institute and former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush.
The award, named after CDI founders Nina and Jonathan Marks, was presented to Motley whose journey from humble beginnings in rural Alabama and ascent to the highest levels of government service, embody the spirit of the award.
During his acceptance speech, Motley recounted stories from his recently released memoir, Madison Park: A Place of Hope, explaining how the members of the tight-knit community, some of very meager means, offered tutoring, school supplies, and even money to ultimately support his college study abroad, because in that community, his success was seen as the community’s success.
Master of Ceremonies Agnes “Aggie” Underwood presided over a paddle raise that secured more than $85,000 to assist CDI in expanding its mental health advocacy and give Scholars access to a professional therapist to help meet their mental health needs.
Ms. Felix also announced a $500,000 unrestricted gift from the Verstandig Family Foundation. The money will be used to build out CDI’s alumni mentorship network to provide Scholar Program participants with access to career professionals, mentorship and internship opportunities.
The CDI Scholars Program gives these bright, motivated high school students the chance to create a life of opportunity. From test preparation and admissions counseling to leadership training and study skills, we help our Scholars reach their academic dreams. CDI works closely with Scholars for over six years, empowering them to reach their goals and graduate from college.