We met our campaign goal and endowed our scholarship through the Society of Women Engineers Board of Trustees in June 2016. We extend our heartfelt thanks to our members and friends who donated, as well as our corporate donors who are pillars of the local engineering community.
In 2016, the Richmond section of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) embarked on a campaign to ensure that our annual scholarship would be funded for years to come. Each year we award a $1,000 scholarship to a young woman from the Richmond area who is entering her freshman year of engineering school.
SWE Richmond is a 501(c)(3) organization, so all donations are tax-deductible and donors will receive an acknowledgement letter for tax purposes. We are soliciting support from area corporations as well as from our members and their networks.
YOU can help us reach our $15,000 goal! Spread the word and consider making a gift yourself. Check whether your employer offers matching gifts. Every dollar goes straight to supporting a young woman’s engineering education. Click here to donate to our scholarship campaign.
Benefits to Community
Our scholarship is awarded based on merit. We consider applicants’ accomplishments as well as their vision for themselves as engineers. Though we award only one scholarship each year, in the process we reach out to guidance counselors at all area high schools. Each applicant has thoughtfully considered why she wants to be an engineer and has been recommended by a math or science teacher, so the process itself aids in developing applicants in regard to thinking through the focus areas and interests they may have in the areas of engineering and technology. Click here to read about past recipients.
Benefits to SWE Richmond
Our scholarship is one of many ways SWE Richmond reaches out to our community, and it is our highest-visibility program that serves to promote STEM-based education. Reaching out to area guidance counselors each year helps to promote SWE as a resource for girls interested in engineering, and generally promotes engineering careers to young women who may not yet know what career they will choose, but who have a high potential given their math and science skills. Students who first learn of SWE through our scholarship may go on to join SWE as collegiate and professional members to continue the promotion of the engineering profession.
SWE Richmond also supports the SWE student section at VCU and works with high schools and middle schools in support of their career days, classroom visits, and other STEM programs. Our scholarship helps promote our section as a resource available to assist with STEM education.
Benefits to Companies
SWE’s reputation as a leading advocate for diversity and inclusion and our commitment to encourage STEM education align our mission with companies who support STEM education and diversity. Donating to our scholarship is a community commitment that supports the pipeline for qualified and productive technical professionals who will help to meet the workforce development goals within the Commonwealth and the Richmond area.
SWE Richmond members are employed at the area's largest engineering companies from the executive level to directors, managers, supervisors, and individual contributors. We also represent numerous engineering consulting firms, government agencies, universities, and other technical companies.
Prior to 2008, corporate donations from Richmond-area companies augmented our annual programming budget, but we are now funding our events solely via the small rebate checks received from our members’ Society registration fees. We are limiting our fundraising effort to our scholarship program, with the goal of ensuring the future of our scholarship so that our section may continue to support future engineers for years to come.
Purpose of Campaign
Past funding for the Richmond SWE scholarship has come from corporate support (many of the most prominent companies within Richmond) and a generous donation by a Dominion executive, Jack Ferguson, who received SWE’s Rodney D. Chipp Award to recognize his contribution to the acceptance and advancement of women in engineering. As those funds have been used to fund the scholarship over the years, we are now looking to secure the future of our scholarship by endowing it through the Society.
The Society of Women Engineers is one of the largest providers of scholarships to women engineering students. In 2015, SWE disbursed approximately 220 new and renewed scholarships valued at more than $660,000. The Society offers member sections an endowment option through which the Board of Trustees will manage a section’s scholarship funds along with SWE’s corpus. For an initial investment of $25,000, a section can pay out a $1,000 annual scholarship in perpetuity. The local section specifies the criteria for the scholarship and runs the local selection process each year, and the Society pays out the funds to the recipient’s university. Click here for more information on SWE's endowed scholarships and here for frequently asked questions.
SWE Richmond is seeking to raise $15,000 to add to existing funds to meet the endowment minimum. Our campaign runs from November 2015 through March 2016. Reaching our goal will allow us to award a scholarship in 2016 from existing funds and to endow our scholarship for awards from 2017 onward.
SWE Richmond is a 501(c)(3) organization, so all donations are tax-deductible. We maintain separate checking accounts for our scholarship and for section business, with annual financial reviews conducted by the president and treasurer and open to all section members.
The mission of the Society of Women Engineers is to stimulate women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, to expand the image of the engineering profession as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and to demonstrate the value of diversity. Founded in 1950, SWE has grown to over 26,000 members in about 100 professional and 300 collegiate sections across the country. Membership is open to all who support the mission of SWE. Society programs focus on professional development for engineers, STEM outreach to K-12 students, and advocacy for diversity and inclusion.
The Richmond section was founded in 1988 and currently has 50 members. We host monthly events focused on professional development, outreach, and networking. Our largest annual event is a networking event with the collegiate SWE section at Virginia Commonwealth University, where a panel of professionals answers questions from students, followed by a networking session. We also volunteer in STEM outreach throughout the year. Our members represent several large engineering corporations in the Richmond area as well as small businesses, consulting firms, and STEM educators and academics.