Warren & Velda Wilson Foundation
Central Community College Foundation is the supporting organization (501(c)3) for the Warren & Velda Wilson Foundation, which allows the Wilson Foundation assets to grow into perpetuity. Scholarship awards are made annually to any Nebraska based institute of higher education.
Warren and Velda Wilson devoted more than 60 years to farming in south central Nebraska. The couple had no children and, as part of their estate plan, they established an educational foundation to provide scholarships to help deserving young people in the area where they had made their livelihood.
The Wilson’s wrote, “It is our desire that these scholarships not be limited to graduating seniors with only the highest levels of academic achievement. Other factors are also important to us including good citizenship, involvement in school and community activities, and potential for future academic success.”
The Wilson Foundation board of directors include John Farrell, President; Jennifer Fleischer, Vice President; Lu Loehr (niece of the Wilsons), Secretary/Treasurer; Scott Kummer, Jay Landell, and Brian Shaw.
Since 2003, the CCC Foundation has been coordinating the scholarship process for the Wilson Foundation. The Nebraska counties included in the area eligible to apply for scholarships are Adams, Clay, Fillmore, Hall, Hamilton, Nuckolls, Phelps, Thayer, Webster, and York. The scholarship is non-renewable. Application access is through the high school counselors in the qualifying counties. Applicants must also reside in the counties previously listed.
For the 2022-23 school terms, $275,000 was awarded to 220 deserving students in the ten-county area. Collectively almost $7,000,000 has been awarded.
Warren & Velda Wilson Scholarship comes full circle for Jordan Harms
As a high school senior, you have many choices to make as you look to start a new chapter in your life journey. One of the most important is choosing a career path and eventually a job. While many don’t know what career path to choose at this time, as a Senior, I knew exactly what career and lifestyle was for me: a farmer. Throughout my childhood I wanted to return home someday and farm alongside my dad. I enjoyed tagging along as a kid helping my dad with the daily tasks and fieldwork. However, our family farm wasn’t large enough at the time to support another person. I knew what my life goals were. I just didn’t know at the time how to achieve them.
After graduation, I attended Southeast Community College in Beatrice for 2 years to study ag business and crop production. As part of the program, I completed a 12-week internship. My passion was still for farming, but opportunity had not presented itself yet to make that happen. I chose a path with an internship for precision ag technology and worked for a local John Deere dealer. I was able to join the dealership full time after college.
After 2 years, I received the opportunity to rent some farm ground when two local farmers retired. The land was owned by the Warren and Velda Wilson Foundation. This was the same group that had awarded me a scholarship as a high school senior to help with my pursuit of a higher education. Today as a farmer of the Warren and Velda Wilson Foundation land, the income from crop I grow goes directly toward funding opportunities for this scholarship program. In addition to farming the land, I also have volunteered to be part of the group that reviews and selects recipients of the scholarships.
While everyone’s life story may not unfold like mine, I want to encourage others to see that opportunity is everywhere. Sometimes you just have to look for it. In college, I think the most beneficial class that I was required to take, was a careers and business class. While it was part of the ag courses, it had little to do with ag. It taught life and business skills that I continue to use to this day as I grow my farming operation. I also credit the Warren & Velda Wilson Foundation for helping me start my farming career and giving many young farmers in the community a chance to return back to the family farm.
As you look to start the next chapter in your lives, I would encourage all students eligible to apply for any scholarship available to you. In rural Nebraska, we are very fortunate to have an abundance of scholarship opportunities that can make an impact on our education and career goals. While it may seem like a small part of the life path; think of a scholarship as an opportunity to unlock potential to something greater. I never could have imagined what my adult life had in store for me, and what opportunity is still to come in the future. As I think back about this journey, filling out a simple scholarship application turned out to play a significant part in reaching my goals. And for me, it has come full circle.