by Danae Laura, Abby Fund President
The Abby Fund is proud to announce that with the support of the Concord Carlisle Human Rights Council and the Concord Carlisle Scholarship Fund, we are able to award our first scholarship this year! The goal of the Abby Fund is to honor Abdirauf Abdullahi, invite conversations about race, education, and opportunity, and endow a scholarship that will encourage and support METCO students in pursuit of higher education. We are endowing a continuing scholarship, and are still looking for $3,500 to round out the endowment.
The organization, founded by young professionals fresh out of college, became an example of everyday activism focused on fundraising.
What is so compelling about the death of Abdirauf Abdullahi, a 2006 CCHS alumni, is that he successfully completed high school, received a full scholarship to college, and was shot and killed in a case of mistaken identity two months before starting his first semester. He was an exemplary METCO student; the son of Somalian refugees, he had taken advantage of his Concord Carlisle education to catapult himself into success. Kimberly Bovell, the CC METCO director at the time of Abby’s death reflected, “Abby was peace-loving, and a quiet leader.” I visited Ms. Bovell in the fall of 2008 after receiving a grant from New York University to begin a scholarship fund in Abdirauf’s name. Soon after, I enlisted the help of two CC METCO alumni, Charisse Gilmer, and Cherisa Hernandez, and “The Abby Fund” was born. In January 2012, Peter Uzoma and Currivan Alouidor joined the team.
Over five years we set time aside in small increments for calls, meetings, emails, and events, and were able to grow the fund from a seed of $1,200 to $16,500. We want to inspire current METCO students to take advantage of the opportunities offered to them by combining a hard work ethic with community involvement and aspiration. Therefore, students receiving the Abby Fund Scholarship will be rewarded for these traits.
Although we are closer to our endowment goal than ever before, and even though this year we will be awarding our first scholarship, our hope is that the conversation and transformation is just beginning.
We would like to thank Polly Attwood for believing in us, and holding the umbrella of the HRC over our budding organization. We would like to thank Paul Ressler for his enduring faith that even though we began with $1,200 in the bank, we could in fact raise an additional $18,800. We would like to thank Debra’s Natural Gourmet and the Dolbens for their generous donations to this fund over the years. Finally, we would like to thank everyone who did the “small” acts: who bought a chocolate bar, who spread the word about a benefit performance, who performed, who asked how it was going, who played for our anniversary basketball tournament, who cheered us on, who donated $10 from afar. Every one of your contributions have helped us raise $16,500, and it will be many more small acts and serious efforts that bring us to our ultimate goal of $20,000. This amount will ensure a METCO student leader receives financial support to pursue higher education in Abdirauf’s name for years to come. As the program evolves and becomes more established, we also hope to develop a way for METCO students attending college or local adults who want to get involved to mentor METCO students at Concord Carlisle.
If this article inspires you to donate to the Abby Fund and keep the traits Abdirauf exemplified in the hearts of generations of Concords Carlisle students, please visit our website: http://theabbyfund.org. Thank you!