Sandy Hook School Memorial Scholarship Fund Reaches $1 Million


In the three months following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, people around the United States have donated more than $1 million to the University of Connecticut’s Sandy Hook School Memorial Scholarship Fund honoring the victims.

A $25,000 gift last week from Mark R. Shenkman, chairman of the UConn Foundation Board of Directors and a UConn alumnus, put the scholarship fund total at $1,010,000, supplementing contributions from more than 5,000 people from across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

“Everyone’s generosity is going to help these families move forward with one less thing to worry about. That’s the blessing in this,” says Cathy Ostar, director of school counseling at Newtown High School, who, with other school administrators, has been sharing information about the scholarship fund with students and their families.

“Contributions to this fund are heartwarming evidence of people’s determination to respond to tragedy with positive and meaningful action,” says UConn President Susan Herbst. “We are proud to be able to assist and support those affected by the horrific event.”

The scholarship fund will support the college costs of siblings of those killed in the assault, the dependents of the adults who lost their lives or were physically wounded, as well as students currently enrolled at the elementary school, who are accepted to the University.

The UConn Foundation, the fundraising arm of the University, established the fund Dec. 17 with a lead gift of $80,000 from UConn’s Hall of Fame women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma and his wife Kathy. Since then, other gifts, in small amounts and large, have poured in from school children and community groups, from corporations and national organizations.

The Bowl Championship Series made a gift of $80,120, which represented $1 for every fan in attendance at the Jan. 7 BCS National Championship game. The Hartford Financial Services Group contributed $100,000, while UnitedHealthcare donated $10,000.

UConn alumnus Denis McCarthy contributed $25,000, and Margaret Keane, parent of a UConn alumnus, donated a $25,000 Chairman’s award received through her employment at GE.

The Connecticut Education Association is supporting the Fund with a fundraising drive expected to raise an additional $1 million.

The UConn Foundation is continuing to accept donations for the Sandy Hook Memorial Scholarship Fund. For more information, go to