To help one or more women each year as they attempt to improve their lives through education.
The Athena Award for Continuing Education (A.C.E.) Association was founded in 2009 by a small group of women who wanted the local Athena Award program to have a more permanent, long-term impact for our community. The idea was that a scholarship would be a great way to help one or more women as they attempted to improve their lives through education; whether they are starting, advancing, or changing their career path. It is a huge source of pride to know that the scholarship has given an added boost to several women throughout our Finger Lakes community; many of whom now work to assist other women through this same scholarship that helped them.
Over time, the original source of funding diminished and eventually expired as the Awards program was discontinued. However, the Association Board members felt that the scholarship has done tremendous good for women in our community and sought a way to keep funding the program independently. In 2015, the Athena ACE Association applied for and was granted official 501c3 status with the IRS. They have subsequently also been designated as an approved charity with the New York State Charities Bureau by the NYS Office of the Attorney General.
In 2015, the first ever fundraising campaign generated enough revenue to fund 2 scholarships totaling $4,500. This level of success was repeated in 2016. The need for this scholarship continues to grow. Each year we are overwhelmed with increasing numbers of applications from deserving candidates asking for support. We see a genuine opportunity to help more individuals each year and hope to continue expanding the program.