30 Years of Single-Parent Success

The Start of Something Unique

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.

Co-founders Ralph Nesson and Marjorie Marugg-Wolfe

1984

First Scholarships Awarded

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.

1984

Statewide Organization Formed

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.

ASPSF logo

1990

Growing the Model

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.

Graduates pose in caps and gowns

Co-Founder Marjorie Wolf Recognized Nationally

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.

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.

2001

Evaluating Impact & Potential

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.

2013

ASPSF 2.0

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.

2016

First Region Launches in Western 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.

Scholarship recipients pose as group with certificates

2017

Regional Model Takes Hold

With a successful pilot test now behind us, ASPSF launches four more regions, completing the transition for the western side of the state.

2018

ASPSF 2.0 Fully Implemented

Regions 2 – 5 are launched, completing the transition to new regional model a full year ahead of schedule.

Map of Arkansas with geographical regions

2019

Pulaski County Merger Creates 10th Region

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.

2019

Celebrating 30 Years of Single Parent Success

ASPSF celebrates its 30th Anniversary and three decades of empowering single-parent students on their path to education. Today we award over $1.9 Million in scholarships each year to more than 1,300 single-parent students.

ASPSF 30th Anniversary logo

2020

Looking Foward

ASPSF reached the milestone $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.

Single mother poses with her daughters in her graduation garb

2020