When Madison Caldwell received the Jeff Maune scholarship at East Central College, she was thrilled.

“I was honored to be chosen,” said the Pacific native. “The scholarship helped me financially but also mentally. It made me feel like there is someone out there cheering me on – someone who wants to see me succeed.”

Open to all students from Franklin County, the scholarship is helping Madison achieve her dream – becoming a teacher.

“I am going into education because I love children,” she said. “I want to be someone a child feels comfortable going to in a time of need.”

While most college students don’t often get to meet their scholarship benefactors, East Central College makes it a priority.

“We believe it is important to bring our scholarship supporters together with the students they are directly impacting,” said East Central College President Dr. Jon Bauer. “Through the annual East Central College Foundation Scholarship Breakfast, we make it possible.”

For Madison, it was a chance to thank her benefactor in person.

“I loved getting to meet Jeff and his wife Beth,” she said. “They made me feel like I had known them my entire life. It was such an honor to be able to express my gratitude to them in person, rather than through a letter or thank you card.”

“We were both so impressed with Madison,” said Jeff. “She is a well-rounded, down-to-earth person. She has a plan in place for her future, and I just hope the scholarship helped her in at least a small way.”

The scholarship is in dedication to Jeff’s late wife, Patsy, who passed away in 2012.

“There is a need for caring, dedicated teachers,” Jeff explained. “Patsy couldn’t have become a teacher without financial help. When the East Central College Foundation Board approached me about setting up a scholarship, I wanted to help.”

Madison was one of 201 students who received more than $100,000 in scholarships through the ECC Foundation this fall.

“Our community is very supportive of the ECC Foundation,” said Dr. Bauer. “Every dollar donated helps enhance the lives of our students forever and strengthens our community. It is an economic and a human investment.”

The East Central College Foundation solicits and receives tax deductible gifts which are managed for the benefit of the college and its students. It is chartered as a non-profit 501 (c)3 organization for educational purposes. It currently supports more than 200 scholarships for students.

Those interested in donating to the ECC Foundation or establishing a scholarship can visit www.eastcentral.edu/foundation or email foundation@eastcentral.edu.