Beginning in 2001, about 150 Sudanese refugees put down roots in Louisville. They were among nearly 4,000 Sudanese refugees to whom the United States granted asylum from the worldâ€™s longest-running civil war, which claimed 2 million lives and displaced 5 million others. Known as the Lost Boys and Lost Girls because they mostly raised themselves after religious, ethnic, and regional strife forced them to flee their Southern Sudan homelands, they have endeared themselves to many Americans because of their positive attitudes, strong work ethic, and insatiable desire to learn.
Founded in 2005, the Sudanese Refugee Education Fund and its all-volunteer board has dedicated itself to funding college scholarships to this unique group of students that adopted the motto â€œEducation is our mother and fatherâ€ and pledged to become the best educated generation of southern Sudanese in history. Since our founding, we have disbursed over $135 thousand to Lost Boys (and a few girls) who have enrolled in secondary educational programs to pursue associate, bachelor, and master degrees.
Our investment has paid off handsomely: Over 85 of the Lost Boys who settled in Kentucky have been enrolled in or have graduated from two or four-year colleges and have earned a combined 46 post-secondary degrees. As we approach the tenth anniversary of the Lost Boysâ€™ arrival in Louisville, our mission continues to focus on fundraising to fill the gap between college tuition and available sources of aid, and has also expanded to meet the evolving needs of our programâ€™s alumni. Look for future programming including but not limited to seminars on topics such as resume development, job search strategies, and interviewing skills; a financial literacy course for households and individuals; and a mentorship program for graduates looking to launch or advance their careers.
As of January 2014, our board is comprised of the following individuals:
|Jessica W. Goldstein, President||Paula Cohn, Vice President|
|Sandy Milner, Secretary||The Rev. Suzanne Warner|
|James Maluak Malou, founding memberWesley Lasu||Vickie A. Johnson|
Donations to the Sudanese Refugee Education Fund are tax deductible, and 100% of contributions go directly to scholarships. All of ourÂ programming costs are covered by in-kind donations by the board and our friends and supporters. You may send donations to:
The Community Foundation of Louisville
325 W. Main St.
Louisville, KY 40202-4251
On the web at:
Checks should be made out to the Community Foundation of Louisville and designated for the Sudanese Refugee Education Fund. You may also donate using a credit card online. Visit the Community Foundation’s online donation page and choose the Sudanese Refugee Education Fund from the drop-down list of funds.