The WLCSRF Story
The William L. Clay Scholarship and Research Fund (WLCSRF) was the vision of Missouri’s first African-American Member of Congress, William L. “Bill” Clay, Sr. Concerns about rising college costs and the barrier of limited financial resources that many students face gave rise to the idea of a scholarship fund. A desire to ensure that those with potential have the opportunity to succeed, led to the incorporation of WLCSRFin February 1983.
WLCSRF awards 4-year scholarships for full-time study toward a bachelor's degree in the program and at the institution of a Scholar’s choice. Awards are typically partial scholarships that bridge the gap in financial aid received and which eliminate the need for student loans. Giving students the chance to obtain a college education and graduate debt-free is part of WLCSRF’s strategy for student success. Keeping connected to students is also important. All along the way, from the time a student is selected to receive an award, through periods of transition and challenge, up to graduation day, WLCSRF gives every Clay Scholar the support and guidance he or she needs to stay on track academically.
Since the first scholarships were awarded in 1985, WLCSRF has strived to promote and achieve Excellence through Education. WLCSRF has made college a reality for more than 260 students and nearly 100 percent have graduated! Currently, WLCSRF has 24 students enrolled in college, including six new Scholars selected for the 2013-2014 academic year. Clay Scholars, often time, are the first in their families to attend college; this reality makes the work of WLCSRF that much more meaningful.
In 2010, WLCSRF conducted its first research study to assess the Scholarship’s impact over its first 25 years. The study reveled that WLCSRFhas invested nearly $6 million toward preparing our youth to become tomorrow’s leaders. Clay Scholars have come from 31 area high schools and have attended more than 53 colleges & universities around the country. Many Clay Scholar Alumni have gone on to earn graduate degrees and can be found leading the way in virtually every industry, including education, medicine, engineering, and business. Currently, two-thirds of alumni are living in the St. Louis metropolitan area, giving back to the community.
The WLCSRF is proud of the role it plays in getting students on path to a future full of promise and is grateful for the friends and supporters who make its work possible. The William L. Clay Scholarship and Research Fund remains committed to its legacy and purpose and the continued success of St. Louis students.
William L. Clay Scholarship & Research Fund
William “Bill” Clay
Angie Clay Thomas
Michelle Clay, Esq.
Dr. Wanda Clay
Congressman Lacy Clay
Mary Anne Hoppe