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St. Stephen’s Episcopal – Meet Brian and Adria Sheth

“For us, Emerging Scholars presented the opportunity to show kids that they are worth investing in, that they will go on to do great things,” said Brian Sheth, explaining the couple’s decision to give $1 million to St. Stephen’s to participate in the Emerging Scholars challenge grant made by program founders and former St. Stephen’s parents Carolyn and Jack Long. Together, the two families have contributed $3 million for this vital initiative at St. Stephen’s. Other donors have contributed more than $1 million, for a total of $4 million for Emerging Scholars from our donor community.

“We were so impressed by Jack and Carolyn,” said Brian, whose family gift was made through The Sangreal Foundation. “They were so sincere and earnest in their desire to help these kids that we had to join them! Their passion is incredibly inspiring — as is Bob Kirkpatrick’s commitment on behalf of the school to make this program a success.”

Originally called Stephen’s Kids and conceived as a weekend outreach program for low-income students, the program was significantly reenergized in 2008 when the school partnered with Breakthrough Austin to provide the personal and academic supports needed for these potential first-generation college graduates.

The Emerging Scholars Fund provides full tuition for three to four Breakthrough students each year through all four years of high school at St. Stephen’s for a total school enrollment of 12 to 16 Breakthrough students any given year.

“Thanks to this program, students can work hard at St. Stephen’s and get into an excellent college with a healthy financial aid grant. Colleges love Emerging Scholar students because they are so talented and have been exceptionally well prepared at St. Stephen’s,” noted Sheth, president of Vista Equity Partners in Austin.

“My parents always made it clear to me how I was able to attend Penn,” said Sheth, whose own college tuition was covered by full financial aid from the university. “Both Adria and I received benefits throughout our youth from community-based programs and philanthropic-minded people. We want to provide those same opportunities to the next generation of college-bound kids.

“We also hoped that our gift would help raise awareness about Emerging Scholars and encourage others to support the program.”

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