Neekoo Philanthropic Society proudly launched the Grant Program in the late summer of 2012 with the aim of providing financial support to young Iranian students as they pursue post-secondary education in a field of their choice. Since 2012, we have supported about 30 students each year with grant allocations of varying amounts.
Our goal initially began as a scholarship program but was revised to a Grant in recognition of the fact that we will not be assessing candidates on the basis of academic achievement alone. Rather, our goal is to provide the financial support to young students who we felt were in need of the financial breathing room to make an impact and including students who may not otherwise be qualified for traditional scholarship programs. We also want to support students with a true passion for their chosen field of study – whether it is in engineering, music, teaching, health, or any other profession.
What differentiates us from other grant or scholarship programs is that our program goes beyond pure financial support. In fact, we are supplementing the Grant program with an advisory component which will provides these students with financial planning support, mentorship and other career enhancing strategies as they begin their professional lives.
What have we done so far?
From our Inaugural event on June 15, 2012, Neekoo awarded 10 students with financial support over the course of their school year. In the following year, Neekoo was able to raise more funds and provide 18 students with financial support for the 2013/2014 school year. Some students received grant for one term while other received full year support (grant for both fall and winter terms).
The selection committee has established a robust process by which we evaluate the students which includes lengthy application review followed by a panel interview which is then supported with reference checks. In the end, students are picked for their overall application – from what they tell us to what we see in them and how neekoo can support their growth.
To give you a taste of calibre of students receiving the grant, the support was given to students such as:
- Established students at UBC or SFU completing a particular bachelor’s or masters or even Phd degrees
- Students in colleges or other universities taking either part-time or full-time course loads with aspirations of completing their certifications or on the way to obtaining their bachelors degrees
- Students in art or music programs working hard to become professionals in their fields
- Students who are working fullt-time or part-time to pay for rent or mortgages with needs for assistance to take part-time courses
Once students are accepted, all cheques are made payable directly to the post-secondary institution of choice. We also follow-up with each student over the course of the year as part of the Advisory program to ensure they are getting any additional support they may need.