The following guest column by Gulf Coast President/CEO Mark Pritchett appeared in the May 18 edition of SRQ Daily:
Dorothy Iversen is helping dozens of Lemon Bay High School graduates pursue higher education next fall.
About 40 students will receive a total of nearly $40,000 in financial aid from the scholarship fund that Mrs. Iversen created at Gulf Coast Community Foundation. Since 2008, her fund has awarded more than 300 scholarships worth over $275,000. Dorothy passed away in 2011, but as the endowment she left continues to grow, so will the amount we can invest directly in promising local students each year.
The photo above this column shows dear Dorothy with the first four recipients of her scholarship back in 2008. Greg Luberecki on the Gulf Coast staff remembers picking her up at her modest Englewood home that summer day for the short ride to Lemon Bay High. He’s not sure the passenger-side airbag even activated after he helped petite Mrs. Iverson into his car! But Greg recalls taking the drive extra slowly anyway, to enjoy the lively conversation punctuated by her hearty laugh.
Dorothy valued education, going back to the technical training programs that impressed her as a youth in Norway. A longtime resident of Englewood, she wanted to help young people from the community she loved attend college to improve their lives. While Dorothy had been “down” for some time after her beloved husband, Arne, passed in 2006, she found renewed joy upon realizing she could help others through philanthropy because Arne had so carefully ensured she was well cared for. “I wanted to see my inheritance do some good during my lifetime,” she said of creating her scholarship, which is named for her and her husband.