Saturday, May 18, 2024

It’s Better to Give

Good things can happen from tragedy. Tim Snow found this out after his father, George, disappeared 35 years ago somewhere over the Bahama islands. “We spent that whole first year looking for him,” Snow remembers. But George Snow, a high school math teacher turned big-time builder who also flew choppers in his spare time, was never found. No crash site. No helicopter parts. No wallet or paperwork or briefcase.

Eventually Snow and his two sisters and brother inched forward with their lives, within two years starting a scholarship fund in their father’s name that to date has helped 1,540 students and awarded $7.3 million in college scholarships.

Yep. You read that right. $7.3 million.

Tim Snow gives away money, lots of it. And it’s hard work. That first year, with the loss of their father still raw, Snow and his siblings threw a Kentucky Derby Party—his father always had thrown a humdinger of a Derby party—and raised enough money for two scholarships. Their goal, Snow says, was to eventually get so big they could say they’d given away $1 million. On a warm Florida evening this past June, they gave away more than $600,000 in just one night.

Snow, 58, takes pride that the scholarship program “is a little different than all the others.” For starters, “we treat these kids as our own,” he says.

During college finals week, more than 70 volunteers bake cookies and put together care packages. Aside from the actual scholarship money—which helps “rock star” students attend whatever college is a good fit, even MIT if that’s the right choice—the folks at George Snow provide emergency travel funds and help pay for things like dental work and physicals.

“Many of our students are orphans or caregivers,” says Snow, who often stays in touch with students, a few of whom now sit on his board. “It’s very hard for me to get through the (awards ceremony) without getting emotional. These kids are many times victims of circumstances they just don’t have control over.”

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