The Portuguese-American Scholarship Foundation since its inception, has helped New Jersey students of Portuguese ancestry further their education and gain greater access to a better way of life
The prestigious and coveted PASF scholarships are awarded to qualifying students who demonstrate an eagerness to succeed in their chosen fields and are proud of their heritage.
The PASF has been in existence since 1966. At that time, Mrs. Elvira Rodrigues, a prominent businesswoman and respected leader in Newark's Portuguese-speaking community, mailed a $25 check to the editor of the Luso-Americano newspaper. It was hoped that from this modest beginning a special scholarship fund would be created to support the educational goals and aspirations of deserving students.
Contributions from various sources were received and, soon, $760 was registered in a special educational account. A small group of dedicated individuals within the Portuguese community realized that education was a critical component of a successful future for its youth, the community, and the nation in general. These concerned citizens began holding meetings and eventually formed the Portuguese-American Scholarship Foundation.
Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded approximately over $800,000 dollars in scholarships. An endowment is being established with help from friends who have pledged memorial and benefactor donations.
The Foundation owes its prestige and its solid financial status to the high caliber of its founding directors and a handful of members.
The PASF was launched and is being carried forth by a small group of highly committed and dedicated individuals and families that for the most part have been with the Foundation since its very beginning or early years.
We pay tribute to its founding members: Vasco S. Jardim (deceased), Angelina R. Jardim (deceased), Elvira Rodrigues (deceased), Daniel Rodrigues (deceased), Donald B. Gomes (deceased), Renato L Baptista, Jose N. de Almeida (deceased), Maria L. de Almeida, Abel Andrade, João A. de Oliveira (deceased), Elisa de Oliveira (deceased), Manuel C. Salgueiro (deceased), Abilio Esteves, António Rosa, Mario Teixeira, Jr., Mamie Neves, and Maria Rodrigues (deceased).
In keeping with its goal to foster better understanding of Portuguese heritage, language, and history, the PASF grants scholarships and promotes related cultural events.
In 1968, the PASF was instrumental in adding the Portuguese idiom to the foreign language curriculum at East Side High School in Newark, NJ. To encourage study in the Portuguese language at the elementary school level, the PASF contributed $3,850, in 1972, to the building fund for the Luis de Camões School at The Portuguese Sport Club in Newark.
In 1976, in commemoration of the American Bicentennial, the PASF co-sponsored the erection of a memorial obelisk in honor of Peter Francisco, an outstanding Portuguese soldier in the American Revolutionary War.
In 1982 the foundation initiated the awarding of commendatory plaques to high achieving students attending the eleven Portuguese-language schools throughout New Jersey.
The PASF has also conducted lectures, held concerts, and sponsored other cultural activities e.g., U.S. debut of the choral group "O Orfeão do Porto" in 1968 at Newark Symphony Hall.In 1989, the first Broad National Bank (now Independence Bank) Golf Tournament was held at the Cruz Farm Country Club in Farmingdale, New Jersey, to raise scholarship funds for the PASF. This event is now an annual fund-raiser for the PASF.
In November, 1990, the PASF participated in the first Congress of Portuguese Language and Culture ever held in New Jersey, sponsored by the Portuguese Continental Union of the U.S.A. It was held at the Rutgers University Newark campus. At this congress the PASF awarded certificates of merit to participants in the poetry and prose contest as part of its program to foster interest in Portuguese culture and language.
THE PASF AND THE FUTURE
Through the efforts of the current Board of Directors and Trustees, the PASF is guaranteed a bright future. The current membership as well as generous donors are committed to continue expanding the role of the foundation for the betterment of the Portuguese-American community in New Jersey through its youth. Its prestige continues to grow due to its high standards in awarding scholarships, its endurance, and financial stability.
In the past, the PASF annually, has awarded scholarships of $3,000 each. Presently, PASF awards are $8,000 each. The Foundation is confident that with the continued support of its benefactors, it will be able to continue to grant what has become New Jersey's most prestigious scholarship award to Portuguese-American students. Though proud of its accomplishments, the Foundation hopes to do more for the young students of New Jersey.
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