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A grassroots effort began in Northwest Arkansas to provide financial assistance and personal support to low-income single parents as they worked to advance their education and provide a better standard of living for their families. Founders Marjorie Marugg-Wolfe and Ralph Nesson set out to build an organization that would remove barriers to success for single parents, envisioning a holistic approach that included mentoring, developmental workshops and career coaching.
In their inaugural semester, Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Benton County awarded seven $150 and Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Washington County awarded eight $300 scholarships.
Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund was formed to implement the model statewide. Early efforts were immediately successful at helping single parents return to school, which in turn opened doors to better employment at living wages. Motivated by the unprecedented results, a group of influential supporters and donors backed the program’s growth. Early supporters and advocates included Dick Trammell, Helen Walton, Bernice Jones, and Hillary Clinton.
Over the next decade, ASPSF affiliate programs grew across the state of Arkansas. The expansion made scholarships and support available to thousands more single parents, relying heavily the help of dedicated local volunteers.
President George Bush presented founder Marjorie Marugg-Wolfe the nation’s highest honor for community volunteers, the annual Point of Light President’s Community Service Award.
ASPSF begins evaluating the state of the program, taking a hard look at all aspects of the organization, our strengths and weaknesses, and the trends effecting our work and those we serve.
ASPSF Board of Directors approves a model for a re-envisioned organization - ASPSF 2.0 - with the potential to serve significantly more single parent students and truly move the needle on reducing single-parent poverty in Arkansas.
The affiliate serving Crawford, Franklin and Sebastian Counties in Western Arkansas votes to dissolve their 501c3, becoming part of the new ASPSF Region 8. This new six-county region serves as the pilot test for the new model.
With a successful pilot test now behind us, ASPSF launches four more regions, completing the transition for the western side of the state.
Regions 2 – 5 are launched, completing the transition to new regional model a full year ahead of schedule.
The SPSF Pulaski Board votes to dissolve their affiliate and merge with the state organization. The merger results in the creation of ASPSF's 10th region.
ASPSF celebrates its 30th Anniversary and three decades of empowering single-parent students on their path to education. Today we award over $1.6 Million in scholarships each year to more than 1,200 single-parent students.
ASPSF is projected to surpass $30 million in scholarships awarded in our 30th year of operation. We will also increase the amount of each scholarship award for the third year in a row, offering even greater support to our single-parent students as they work to pursue their education and transform the future for their families.