Originally published in Winter 2015:
Retired Jacksonville Sheriff Nat Glover embodies the passion that donors can bring to charitable giving. Twenty years ago, he made the bold decision to establish a scholarship fund for financially needy students to attend colleges and universities.
Nearly everyone in Jacksonville knows Nat Glover. He was born here, played football at New Stanton High School and Edward Waters College, and was the first African American elected sheriff in Florida since the end of Reconstruction. Today, he is the president of Edward Waters College, and credited with the restoration of trust and faith in the nearly 150-year old institution.
What you might not know about is his quiet philanthropy. When he was elected sheriff in 1995, he used his JSO pension to establish an endowed scholarship fund for financially needy students. For 20 years, it has helped students who otherwise might not be able to attend college for financial reasons, and who have ‘academic promise and potential for leadership.’ They must maintain a 2.5 average. Students are chosen by an independent scholarship committee.
But Sheriff Glover is relentless in his pursuit for more scholarship dollars for Edward Waters College. You might say he is now Solicitor-in-Chief – using every opportunity to encourage others to step up and support students.
“My kids – 96% of them are on financial aid,” Glover says. “If they need money to graduate, I have to go ask for more and it’s hard. It’s one thing to raise money to build a building with someone’s name on it; it’s another thing altogether to ask for unrestricted scholarship dollars.”
“At the end of the day, we want to make sure they graduate,” he went on. “We need to invest in them now instead of pay for them later. If they graduate, they’ll be contributing to our society in a civic way, and we get a whole different benefit vs. what happens when they are unemployed, not paying taxes, etc.”
Meet Jasmine and Spencer
Jasmine Bouie is from Orlando – the first in her family to graduate from high school and attend college. A freshman studying criminal justice, Jasmine says she loves Edward Waters College. When asked about the Glover scholarship, she says softly, “I’m truly thankful and grateful.”
Spencer Smith is at the other end of the college experience – he will graduate in May. He arrived from Dothan, Alabama on a golf scholarship and has pursued a degree in business administration, with internships at CSX and JEA along the way. He has a personal relationship with President Glover and credits the Glover Scholarship with allowing him to complete his studies, and hopes to “represent Edward Waters College to the best of my abilities.”
Vice President of Institutional Advancement Wanda Willis says Jasmine and Spencer are like two bookends of the college experiences – Jasmine is in the early days of her education, while Spencer has taken advantage of all the many opportunities that EWC and Jacksonville could offer. Yet in both cases, “the Nat Glover Scholarship was able to help them get there.”
President Glover would like to see more donors step forward to help students like Jasmine and Spencer. If given the opportunity, Jasmine says she would ask a potential scholarship donor to give for one simple reason: “because kids are the future.”