The Manchester Essex Education Fund, Inc. (the Fund) was originally formed in 1974 as the Manchester Education Fund by a group of residents and educators in Manchester concerned about the rising costs of education, particularly higher education. Originally incorporated, the stated purpose was to “promote education by extending financial assistance to students.”
In 1977, the IRS designated the Fund a Section 501(c)3 organization. This designation permits the Fund to operate as a Not For Profit Entity to which all donations are tax-deductible to the donor. Further, gifts to grantees in the form of scholarships are not taxable to the recipient.
From that time until 2011, the Fund was operated via a Board of Directors comprised primarily of residents of Manchester along with representatives from the Manchester School District. The funds raised by the organization have been in the custody of Cape Ann Savings Trust and Financial Services, which has designed an investment program intended to balance fund growth and income production for the purpose of granting scholarships annually. As of 2014, the Fund had been renamed the Manchester Essex Education Fund, and the board has been expanded to include Essex residents and representatives of the Manchester Essex Regional School District.
Generally, the Fund operates on an endowment basis. The general intent is to preserve capital raised and grant scholarships primarily from income derived from the capital.
The Fund is structured through a number of subaccounts or dedicated scholarships. Periodically, scholarships have been established in the name of prominent teachers, administrators and students, often upon their passing, as a tribute to the contributions of these individuals to the school system and the overall community. In addition, the Board established a general scholarship fund for those who wish to make a donation but not earmark the funds for any particular subaccount. This fund is name Friends of Manchester Essex Scholarship Fund.
The Fund currently has over $700,000 in assets being managed on its behalf by Cape Ann Savings Bank. Over the past several years, the Fund has awarded scholarships to graduating seniors totaling approximately $57,000 per year. Individual scholarships range in value from approximately $500 to approximately $2,500, with occasional grants substantially exceeding these amounts in extraordinary circumstances. Some funds grant multiple scholarships in any one year.