Deborah White Scholarship Fund


Deborah Anne White dedicated her life to making others’ lives better. Helping people achieve their full potential was one of her passions, and her selflessness and empathy drove every decision in her world. She was filled with light and laughter and managed to insert purpose in even the smallest of moments. And no one would know that better than me, her son, JT.

Creating The Deborah White Scholarship Fund is so important to me. Sponsor-A-Scholar played a major role in our lives. From working with Bill Barnet and Charlie Buchanan to get it off the ground in 1996 to continuing to run the program through chemotherapy and cancer treatment in 2001, Sponsor-A-Scholar is an everlasting part of my mom’s legacy. The continued success, growth and dedication of new and old colleagues alike is something that would make her so proud, as I know it does me.

My goal is simple - every year my family and I would like to attend the graduation of an incredible young person whose journey was guided by this program which my mother cared so deeply about. Carrying on her legacy will ensure that her memory lives on, not only in me, but in dozens of young people. I am honored to start this initiative in the memory of the person who made me who I am.


Crystal Campbell is a shining example of the success of Capital Region Sponsor-A-Scholar. She was not only part of the very first class of Albany students, but was also mentored by my Mom.

Crystal is now a guidance counselor at a local high school, guiding students to success, and very literally paying it forward, much in the way that Sponsor-A-Scholar’s founders envisioned.

How can I put into words what Ms. Deb meant to me? She was an exemplary woman of character, confidence, and success. She took her role as a mentor seriously, and showed great compassion while doing it. One of my fondest memories of her was when she took the time to help prepare me for a college interview. She encouraged me and reminded me the importance of promoting myself and achieving my goals. My hope is that all she instilled in me, shows through my work as a school counselor. The success of students in Sponsor-A-Scholar and its longevity is a testament to the dedicated work Ms. White contributed to establish a foundation for this program.

As my mother shared the successes of Sponsor-A-Scholar’s students with me, with your help, I can share new stories with my daughter. Through this scholarship, we can keep my mother’s legacy alive for all time.

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What does my donation do?

A sponsorship is $10,000 for one student. This investment supports the student throughout high school and college.

We devote $4,000 to cover some of the costs of tutoring, AP course fees, SAT fees, SAT prep, and other programmatic expenses while the students are in high school. The remaining $6,000 is held in trust for the student’s stipend, generally distributed to students $750 at a time as they complete each successful semester of college.

Sponsors can choose to meet their students at events throughout the year, or they may remain benevolent and anonymous. Sponsor-A-Scholar shares regular updates with sponsors throughout the academic year to highlight student achievements and share progress.

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The purpose of this is about so much more than just raising funds. It’s about preserving the legacy of my mother and the deep commitment she felt to the community, the families and the incredible students of Sponsor-A-Scholar.

To those that share my passion for this program and are in a position to contribute funds, I thank you.

Those who cannot contribute funds, but feel the power of my mother’s legacy and her need to do good in the world, in true Deb White fashion, I simply ask that you roll up your sleeves, volunteer your time or tell your friends and family about this amazing program or programs like it in your community.

Hitting our goal averages out to 200 caring, compassionate individuals committing $50 a year. No amount is too small (and, clearly, none too big), no gesture will go unnoticed, and the immense sense of community and gratitude I feel for you simply taking the time to hear my mother’s story knows no bounds. Thank you for helping to continue my mother’s legacy and this unbelievable program for future students.

JT White