Erickson Merkel Foundation announces its first scholarship winners

Chairman’s View
By Sean Merkel, chairman of the board

I am happy to announce on behalf of Erickson Merkel Foundation that we’ve chosen our first ever awardees for the Jerome P. Merkel scholarships.

Sean Merkel, board chairman

Sean Merkel, board chairman

We were anxious to see how many applications we would receive in such a relatively short timeline for our first round of scholarships in the 2015 year, but once the deadline hit we were absolutely convinced that we seem to be headed down the right path.
There’s a lot of workhorse scholars out there.
In the relatively short time table of January through February, 40 students made their hard work and dedication known to us through their applications. There were times in the process that it was extremely hard to choose, especially toward the end when we made our final decisions. We feel we made a good choice, and I feel that my father is proud to have his name attached to three scholarships given out to such phenomenal students and young professionals.
The winners of the first-ever Jerome P. Merkel scholarships have been awarded to Allissa Heim, Ayesha Ahmad and Hillary Noll.
Again, we would like to extend our warmest and brightest congratulations to these three. Their dedication to work and academics and overall positive nature really came through to convince the board that they personified the traits we wanted to reward.
In the coming months we aim to tell you more about these three workhorses. We’re doing this to help remind ourselves and others what values and virtues we think should be rewarded, and also to provide a good example of what type of hard-working person we’d like to reward in the future.
If only we had the funding to reward all 40 applicants, that would have been really something.
For now, we feel great about our collective decision. It couldn’t have happened without the hard work of our board members – David Aase, JulieAnn Bischof, Tyson Bittner, Michael Brewer, Chris Erickson, Matt Erickson, Ben Ferin, Samantha Fischer, Jeff Hare, Rhonna Hed, Betsy Johnson, Eric Jungels, Hannah Jungels, Paul Jungels, Jared Klempel, Anne McGuire, A.J. Noll, Mike Renner, Aaron Reznechek – who all made this possible.
Their experience helped us in the strenuous effort to whittle down 40 candidates into three scholarship winners. And we’ll need their help in the future, because I think 40 candidates is only a drop in the bucket of potential workhorses who are out there right now buckling down in class and work. Once the word’s had a chance to spread a little further, we’ll have our work cut out for us once next year’s winners have to be selected.
Now, we’re going to focus on fundraising. With our funding nearly all secured for the first round of scholarships we’re going to move to our next two goals – building next year’s scholarship fund and growing our general fund.
The reason for two different funds is that we’d like to keep the general fund principle in place, and growing larger year-after-year. Once that’s started and we hit our goals, interest drawn from that fund will help supplement our scholarship fund – potentially giving us a little bit more funding for scholarships each year.
I’d like to ask each and every person reading to please consider helping us meet our fundraising goals to help our deserving candidates. Donations can be made through Paypal or by check to the address below. I’d also like to thank everyone for considering it. We couldn’t have got this far without support of family, friends and community.

Erickson Merkel Foundation
1475 Eldridge Avenue East
Maplewood, MN 55109

We’re looking forward to pushing ahead and working toward rewarding even more workhorses in the future. On behalf of the board and the candidates, thank you for your support!