SFA Gala Raises $450K for Alexandria Students Seeking College Scholarships

Virtual event streamed live from Jack Taylor's Alexandria Toyota

Scholarship recipient Mikias Elias addressed the audience during the virtual SFA Gala 35 on April 24, 2021. (Photo courtesy SFA)

ALEXANDRIA, VA-On Saturday, April 24, the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria (SFA) held its 35th Anniversary Spring Benefit Gala and Auction. The virtual event, broadcast live from presenting sponsor Jack Taylor’s Alexandria Toyota, raised $450,000 for college scholarships. MGAC, owned by T.C. Williams High School alums Mark and Cindy Anderson. was also a presenting sponsor.

“We are extremely grateful to the Alexandria community for the incredible outpouring of support we saw on Saturday night.” said SFA Board Chair Priscilla Goodwin. “There is great need among the students, and especially this year with COVID-19 economics disproportionately affecting our students and families who struggle financially. All funds raised will go directly to support their college dreams.”

The Gala included music, a silent auction, and award presentations. Emceed by SFA Board Member Kimberly O’Donnell, sponsors and supporters were welcomed with dinners, cocktails, and gift bags. T.C. Biology teacher Jennifer Dargue won the grand prize raffle. She can choose between a brand-new Toyota RAV-4 or $25,000 in cash.

T.C. graduating senior Mikias Elias, recipient of the $40,000 Collis Warner scholarship, spoke for the class of 2021. He shared with attendees that days earlier, he had been accepted to Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering.

“I couldn’t be more grateful. This scholarship brings great relief to my family knowing that college won’t be a financial struggle for us,” he said. “This scholarship will make my education at Virginia Tech possible.”

Former T.C. Principal and Alexandria Living Legend John Porter presented the Portraits of Success awards, which recognize past SFA scholarship recipients who have since achieved great personal and professional success. The winners were Dr. Merkeza Grant, an emergency room physician and T.C. class of 2001 graduate; Patrice Green a leader in community empowerment in Philadelphia, also of the class of 2001; and Todd Sandoz, a financier, major SFA scholarship supporter, and member of the class of 1989.

Porter spoke of the legacy of the Scholarship Fund. He described SFA scholarships as “building the bedrock of the Alexandria community over the past three and a half decades” by helping students afford college and get their start in life.

Since 1986 the nonprofit SFA has awarded $17 million in scholarships. That amount, thanks to the generosity of the Alexandria community, has helped an estimated 5,000 students pursue higher education.

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