Category Archives: News

Awards Dinner Celebration

Awards Dinner Invitation – May 23, 2019

The Awards Dinner Celebration honoring our 2019 Bernie Scholars will be held on Thursday, May 23, 2019. Please RSVP by emailing

The event will be held at the Executive Office Building, located at 101 Monroe Street in Rockville, Maryland.

2018 Effectiveness Study Findings

The 2018 Effectiveness Study had a 36% increased response rate over the 2017 Effectiveness Study.

Twenty (20) of the respondents were new awardees and it will be a goal to keep the lines of communication open by creating an Effectiveness Study designed to track the progress toward stated outcomes for this group of recipients.

Twenty-five (25) of the respondents have received two or more awards; half of these awardees received back-to-back awards (in 2017 and 2018). Additionally, twenty-three (23) of the respondents have applied for a 2019 Bernie Scholarship Award.  Our challenge will be to measure the effectiveness of multiple awards on education completion rates and increased standards of living.

Ninety-eight percent (98%) of the respondents are still enrolled in school or have completed a degree or certificate program. 

First Friendraiser a Success!

BSAP welcomed about 80 guests to the first annual Friendraiser on April 5, 2019 at the Arts Barn in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The program introduced guests to two awardees who spoke, Erika Granville & Natanel Assefa. Advisory Board member Otis Smith was emcee, and Chris Ullman, International Whistling Champion, was the keynote speaker. Silvio Renzi, BSAP Co-Chair also spoke along with Francene Walker, Director of the Montgomery College Foundation’s (MCF), who described the new relationship between MCF and BSAP.

The Friendraiser most definitely was a great and wonderful event..a beautiful space and the ambiance was “Warm and Joyful”… looking forward to much more to help promote and raise awareness of the Bernie Scholarship Foundation.

Erika Granville

It’s Volunteer Week!

The Montgomery County Volunteer Center's 50+ Volunteer Network can help you find volunteer opportunities that fit your particular combination of skills, interests, and availability. The program's advisers will help you determine not just what you can do, but what you want to do, and connect you to these options at nonprofits and government agencies.

In just one year, the program has placed hundreds of volunteers at a broad range of agencies in a variety of opportunities as tutors, courtroom monitors, professional coaches, counselors, communications and marketing specialists, grant writers, IT consultants, board members, attorneys, event planners, intake coordinators, mediators, mentors, program managers, strategic planners, tax preparers, and more.

Want to hear from 50+ Volunteer Network volunteers about their experiences? Watch this video highlighting several of the program's volunteers and the agencies they serve. Then, email and get started!

BSAP Chosen by Women Who Care

The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program, our 501(c)3 nonprofit, was chosen by the 100 Women Who Care of Lower Montgomery County to receive a monetary contribution which will have a significant impact for the community.  The 100 Women Who Care of Lower Montgomery seeks to address a charitable need in our local community and to collectively use our individual resources to make a monetary contribution that will make a significant impact to the charity.  See

Theresa Wells and Tonia Harries
Board member, Theresa Wells and Tonia Harries, married mother of 3, 3-time awardee who is working full-time & taking online full-time college courses & will graduate in May 2019, presenting for Women Who Care.

A special thank you goes to Theresa Wells and Tonia Harries for their presentations. We also thank Margaret Magill, WWC member who invited us to speak, and WWC’s President, Linda Mathuran.

BSAP would also like to thank all of the contributors of Women Who Care. Please see our thank you letter to WWC.

Theresa Wells – Presentation to WWC

I would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight on behalf of The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program.  I appreciate that each of you are here tonight because you believe in the value of giving back and providing opportunities to others. 

The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program was started in 1995 when Bernie Tetreault retired after 24 years of service as Executive Director of Montgomery County’s public housing agency, Housing Opportunities Commission. Our organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit AS a component fund of the Greater Washington Community Foundation.  Since its inception, the Bernie Scholarship has provided over 500 scholarships and a total of $625,200 to deserving students.

·       Our goal this year is to award 65 or more, if we have even more eligible applicants, awardees $1,500 each, which means we’ll need to raise at least $97,500.

·       Our scholarship applicants are low-income residents of subsidized rental housing in Montgomery County; they are graduating high school seniors & other adults 18 & older, and some are Dreamers.  98% pursue college degrees, 2% vocational certificate training.  We are most proud of our awardees, because 98% have completed a college degree or are continuing their studies!

·       This year, we have over 85 applications.  

 I would like to underscore the impact of each of these awards to the recipient.  Without these funds, these students would be unable to further their education.  Our assistance may alter the path of the life of a student.  As an organization, we are committed to the success of our awardees, we provide mentoring/coaching and follow them through their educational journey.

 I joined this nonprofit as a Board member this year.  Last summer, I began my search for a personal connection to a charitable organization that I could serve.  I am from a blue-collar community in western Maryland.   I grew up in Cumberland as a daughter of a tire factory worker.  My parents instilled in me from a very early age the importance of a college education and motivated me daily to do the absolute best I could in school so that I could have career opportunities that they did not.  My parents wanted more than anything for my sister and I to be the first college graduates in our extended family.

 Because money was short, I looked to scholarships and grants to enable me to go to WVU to study engineering.  Without this assistance, attending college may not have been possible.  This is why I identify so closely to this foundation.  In a way, I feel like I am paying it forward.

 My college education provided a life changing foundation.  In 1987, I moved to the DC area, and have worked in finance and telecommunications positions, but I always gravitated toward healthcare information systems and policy.  After 30 years, I currently have my dream position as a project manager on FDA key policy initiatives for the Office of the Commissioner.  The projects that I work on such as opioid abuse and teen vaping are critical to public health. 

 I hope that you can see in me an example of what your contribution can do.  It can be life changing.  Education can be the key to lifting a person from public assistance to self-sustainment.  This self-sustainment for me has meant that I was able to raise my 4 daughters with goals of their own.

 Thank you for this opportunity to share with you the Bernie mission and my personal story.   I know firsthand how important it is to put together the motivation, finances and external support to ensure student success.  It is our hope that we will be able to count on your support so that we can provide this to deserving students in Montgomery County.

Friendraiser is this Friday!

The Friendraiser is right around the corner and we need YOUR help! Please get the word out about this special and unique event. Tickets are still available and are just $20. We will have the following speakers:

  • Champion whistler and inspirational speaker Chris Ullman
  • Superbowl Champion Otis Smith
  • Scholarship awardee Erika Granville
  • Scholarship awardee Natanel Assefa

Check out our media release for this event, and get your tickets today!


Women’s History Month is March 1st

March 1st marks the deadline for the Bernie Scholarship Awards Program, but it also marks the start of Women’s History Month.

Since 1972, Title IX has provided the right to education free from sex discrimination. With Title IX, women and girls have been able to make great strides toward sex equality in education, but many serious obstacles remain.

One of these obstacles is single parenthood, an issue disproportionately affecting women. According to US Census data, approximately 82.2% of custodial parents are mothers. For single parents, who are supporting children, going back to school can seem like an impossible dream. The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program strives to make these impossible dreams possible.

Many of Bernie Scholarship’s 500-some recipients have been single mothers working to achieve their academic and personal goals of upward mobility. One of these recipients is Yvette Hammond, a single mother who, through a Bernie scholarship, completed her Bachelor’s of Science degree and is now enrolled in a Master’s degree program. Because of Yvette’s hard work and dedication to her education and family, she was able to rise above her challenging circumstances, get a full-time job in Community Health, and purchase a new home.

To all the strong, intelligent, and hard-working single mothers, if you are looking to go (back) to school – whether for college or vocational training – the Bernie Scholarship Awards Program is here for you. Celebrate Women’s History Month by taking another stride towards equality in education and submitting your application to become a Bernie Scholar.

BSAP at the Rotary Club

Nancy Scull (BSAP) and Tonia Harries (BSAP Award Winner) visited the Rotary Club of Gaithersburg on January 8, 2018.

Nancy Scull and Tonia Harries introduced our group to The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program. It was founded in 1995 by Mr. Bernie Tetreault to aid high school seniors, and adults beginning or returning to school, with the cost of college or vocational training. Recipients must live in Montgomery County subsidized rental housing. It is a component fund of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, so all donations to the program are tax-exempt.

Nancy said there were 63 awardees in 2018. She hopes to have a similar number in 2019 and to provide each with a $1,500 award. That might be increased to $2,000 in the year 2020 (coincidence?). A huge 98% of scholarship recipients finish their college degrees or training licenses, 67% pursue 4-year degrees, 17% an associates and 7% obtain masters degrees.

The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program strongly supports public service careers, 18-year-old and older students and “non-traditional” students. Nancy gave examples of people from difficult backgrounds who excelled with Bernie scholarships.

Tonia Harries is a beneficiary of the program. She spoke of how a scholarship had helped her move from near despair to a A.A.S. degree in Health Information Management, which she will complete in 2019.  It has made a huge difference in her life.

The organization’s website is Through this site, one can donate (tax-exempt) to the program and, also, apply for a scholarship.