For Lydia Jordan, nothing is more important than faith, family, and community. In fact, it was a conversation at her family reunion that sparked the memory of her late Uncle Carlyle and his dedication to building a better future for others.
"My Uncle Carlyle was brilliant, and he was concerned about everybody getting a good education,” said Lydia. “He came from a family of 13, and although they were poor, 12 of the children received college degrees. That’s because my grandma and grandpa instilled those values into all of us to do better and to get a higher education.
"Determined to continue her uncle’s legacy, Lydia set out to create a scholarship in his honor. She reached out to the Foundation, where two of her own sons had received scholarships in the early 2000s. Lydia then turned to her community, raising $10,000 in one year from friends and family, fellow members of United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church, her Delta Sigma Theta sorority sisters, and members of her uncle’s hometown church, Springfield Memorial Baptist.
Many of the contributions came in small amounts—$50 here, $175 there—but a $1,300 donation from a former Foundation scholarship recipient who was visiting her uncle’s church sealed the deal. Now, thanks to Lydia and countless others, the Air Force Major Earl Carlyle Brown Memorial Scholarship Fund provides support each year to a local student who needs additional resources to attend college and pursue their dreams.
“The scripture says that God has not given us the spirit of fear, but he’s given us power, love, and a sound mind. He’s given us the power to be courageous and to make a positive difference with our gifts and talents. He’s given us love, like the love that my uncle had to help people and encourage others to go further. And he’s given us a sound mind to reason, to think, to imagine. But we also need a chance to succeed, and that’s what my uncle’s scholarship is all about.”