Karen Carns Scholarship Fund

Karen Carns Foundation: Karen Carns Scholarship Fund

The Scholarship Fund originally carried the name of the St. Bernadette Scholarship Fund because of its narrow focus to, and close association with, the St. Bernadette school and parish. In Karens honor, the board decided to change the name to the Karen Carns Scholarship Fund.

Karen’s father became extremely ill and was unable to work during her senior year in a Catholic high school. Through the kindness of an anonymous donor, funds were available to ease the situations of deserving students whose families were undergoing life-changing crises. Karen was chosen as one of these students and she never forgot this gift.

Karen’s dream is that no student be denied a private secondary school education due to financial reasons. Karen’s work began after listening to parents in a small Catholic parish express concern that the ever-rising costs of Catholic education would prevent many students from continuing their Catholic education after leaving the parish elementary school. Karen and her husband Tom proposed using the parish golf outing to start a “scholarship fund” which would provide monetary awards to students demonstrating Christian values, academic diligence, and financial need.

The annual golf outing and its accompanying raffle ticket sales are the main fundraisers for the Scholarship Fund. Other events throughout the year sponsored by generous supporters include walk-a-thons, bingos, jeans days, and outright donations that also bolster the Fund.

Doug Pelfrey, Cincinnati Bengal kicker, was the first honorary chairman of the golf tournament in 1999. The goal that first year was to raise $7,500 for the newly formed Saint Bernadette Scholarship Fund. Through private donations, raffle ticket sales, silent auctions, and the golf outing, volunteers raised over $17,000. In 2000, the golf outing was fortunate to have Cincinnati Bengal linebackers Brian Simmons and Takeo Spikes as co-chairmen of the event and hard-working volunteers raised nearly $30,000.

Although the golf outing was cancelled in 2001 due to its close timing to Karen’s death, $20,000.00 was still disbursed in June 2002 to students attending private high schools who demonstrate financial need. This disbursement was possible due to the widespread support the Foundation now receives from diverse groups, including Saint Ursula Villa teachers, Saint Bernadette school functions, the Saint Thomas More Bingo, and especially the over 100 memorial donations given in Karen’s name.

To honor Karen as one of the founders and board members of the scholarship fund, and certainly as its inspiration, the Board members unanimously approved that the fund be re-named the Karen Carns Scholarship Fund.

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