Gratitude Goes Miles

Loprinzi Recipient shares perspective on why saying thank you is a must

I am a Biochemistry Student. A senior enrolled in a private college in the Pacific Northwest. I work hard. I attend classes and labs, I write papers, I am a Resident Assistant who makes sure my assigned residents have a comfortable living environment on campus. I take tests and I have notebooks full of notes and outlines. Did I say, I work hard. I do. College is hard work. There are some things that help keep my life in balance. Community is one of the most important of those things. It provides strength which allows me to persevere and to succeed. Where does that community come from? My family, friends, church, and school, of course. Today I am writing to remind you of an important part of our community which will provide financial and emotional support. It will give you an opportunity to demonstrate your success. It will protect you when you are feeling challenged and lonely. It is, of course, a relationship with organizations which support your educational efforts by providing scholarships, internships, and other forms of financial and educational support. Build these relationships. Acknowledge their contribution to your success. Honor their generous support. It will benefit you, the program that is supporting you and future recipients. 

Honestly, I can relate to your immediate reaction to my suggestion. You may think you don’t have time. You may think it is not important to the organization. You may feel that it isn’t good investment of your limited time and resources. I have been given some space today to let you know you are wrong. Your story is important to your donor organizations. Exercising your voice is important to your success and confidence. Your experiences will benefit those who follow you. 

I am a Latinx woman. I remember the “fantasy” of college. I had the dream of going to college, but the thought seemed unrealistic. I experienced rejection and fear. I thought I had an unachievable fantasy. I was wrong. I reached out and created a team of supporters. I applied to any scholarship I could find. My dream became a reality. That reality is big. I work hard at school, and I work hard to stay in school. I have a financial package which I diligently rebuild every year. I now understand that the whole picture develops a brick at a time. I acknowledge the importance of each and every contribution to my education. I have been so blessed by the support of every member of the Multnomah Athletic Foundation machine. I received the Loprinzi Scholarship as an incoming College Freshman. An amazing gift. I also was interviewed by a panel of members who expressed interest in my educational goals and confidence in my achievements. While the Loprinzi Scholarship will be an important memory, I also have lifelong memories and relationships with people who have come along beside me to cheer me on. I honor their investment by including them in my community. 

How I Stay Connected 

I personally find it important to take time during Winter Break to reach out to Donor Organizations who are helping me pay for my education. Regarding MAF, I send thank you letters and updates to Lisa who forwards them to anyone in MAF interested in an update regarding my journey. I usually add funny stories and an update on how life is going. I add pictures from my time on campus to demonstrate my interests, my successes, and my life. 

Trying to Connect with Your Donors? Here are some suggestions: 

  • Make it fun! Do not let this add stress. Choose a time of year when you have free time. 
  • Try reaching out annually – maybe not the same time you are reapplying for a scholarship. 
  • Add stories about your life on campus. Make the update not just about classes but about what parts of life on campus you are enjoying most! 
  • It is great to share educational achievements but personalize these updates with stories and photos! 
  • I have sent photos of the lab where we made chemical “glow in the dark” test tubes, fun activities I have done with my residents, pictures from our “Color Splash 5 K” where my T-shirt was covered in neon chalk (The MAF members love hearing how you are incorporating physical exercise into your regimen) 
  • Express your appreciation! Demonstrate your success! Be honest about your experiences. Give donors the opportunity to learn more about you. Build this relationship. Again, the payoff is big. For you, for the donors and for the ones coming up behind you. 

I acknowledge that college is hard, and life can be hectic. Balance this part of your life by effective planning. Don’t try and write these updates when you are taking finals or writing a major paper. I am very excited about starting my Senior year. I have written my last application to MAF for scholarship money. I know that after I graduate, I will continue to send updates. The money I received as a contribution to my education has allowed me to create a foundation, I will use to pursue my MD/PHD in medical research. I have relationships with people who invest in my success and who are important to me. My updates express my appreciation for their support and for our relationship. I am a member of the MAF community – and they are an important part of my community. Lisa Bendt and the Multnomah Athletic Foundation have been in my corner from the beginning. Not only did I get a scholarship, but I also got a party. In a pandemic and can’t have the party? The Foundation’s Scholarship Committee sent S’mores kits to each scholarship recipient. Lisa remembers my family, every time we talk. I did a summer internship at OHSU in Cancer Research and Lisa and MAF members came to the awards ceremony and spent the day admiring many student’s cancer research projects. Staying connected to this community has given me more than I can express but I also believe that I have had the opportunity to engage with members who understand my appreciation for their talents, donations, and interest. 

Be engaged! Be grateful! Be accepted! Write those notes and stay connected because YOU are an important part of OUR community! 

Written by Tori Lopez, 2019 Loprinzi Scholarship Recipient