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Darla Moore Foundation steps up with Pee Dee scholarship program

Darla Moore Foundation steps up with Pee Dee scholarship program

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LAKE CITY, S.C. – The Darla Moore Foundation and the Meeting Street Scholarship Fund have formed a partnership to expand scholarship availability to 26 high schools in eight Pee Dee region counties. The announcement was made on Monday at The Continuum in Lake City.

The commitment by the Darla Moore Foundation expands the Meeting Street Scholarship program beyond Charleston County to include eligible students in eight Pee Dee counties – Florence, Darlington, Dillon, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, Williamsburg and Clarendon — with the 2021-2022 scholarship cycle.

Meeting Street Scholarship Fund helps high-achieving seniors pay for college.

“With a shared mission of expanding access to quality higher education in South Carolina, partnering with the amazing Meeting Street Scholarship Fund was an obvious choice for our Foundation,” Darla Moore, founder of The Darla Moore Foundation said at the announcement Monday. “We know higher education is a key element for success later in life and the cost of a college degree grows every year. We must make higher education available to every deserving student who wants it, but without burdening them with student loan debt far into their adulthood.”

The program gives students a chance to earn $10,000 a year toward tuition — up to $40,000 over their college career.

“We are incredibly humbled and excited to partner with The Darla Moore Foundation. It is through generous philanthropic efforts like this that we can offer this scholarship resource to more students across South Carolina,” Ben Navarro, founder of the Meeting Street Scholarship Fund, said.

Ben and his wife, Kelly Navarro, were in Lake City on Monday for the announcement.

Ben said he visited New York City one Christmas with his family, and it was then he decided he wanted to one day live in New York and work on Wall Street. He was then a 12-year-old living in Indiana. He said Darla Moore once had that same vision for her life.

“It is what is possible when you get that vision in your head,” he said.

He said scholarships, like the ones that will be available to graduates in the Pee Dee, will make dreams like this come true for others.

Moore said this has been a long time in coming.

Moore said she came from six generations of farmers in the area and not all of them had the opportunity to attend college.

Moore said higher education is the pathway that opened this door for her.

She stressed the importance of connecting students with the scholarships that are available.

The one-page scholarship application is now available on the Meeting Street Scholarship Fund website at

The scholarship is designed to identify academically high-achieving students with limited ability to afford college tuition and support their aspirations in attending college without accruing crushing student loan debt, stated a release from the organizations.

“The Meeting Street Scholarship Fund is perfectly aligned with The Darla Moore Foundation’s mission and goals,” said Harry Lesesne, The Darla Moore Foundation’s executive director. “The Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life of people in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. This scholarship will do exactly that.”

The first application cycle of the Meeting Street Scholarship Fund awarded scholarship funding to 94 scholars in Charleston County this past year. With the addition of the Pee Dee Region, the Fund estimates that more than 200 students could earn a scholarship during the upcoming application cycle.

“A lot of our students think college is not attainable for them,” said Dr. Laura Hickson, superintendent of Florence County School District Three, through a release on the program. “This opportunity will help students to actually visualize that pathway to college. Once students go to college, it’s going to change their entire trajectory. This will be a game-changer for a lot of children, which in turn will change our entire community.”

To learn more about the Meeting Street Scholarship Fund, including who qualifies, visit


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