The Vermont State Foundation is pleased to announce the 2021 Charity Foundation Awards winners. The winners will be celebrated during the Vermont State Scholarship and Stewardship Banquet organized by the Vermont State Scholarship Foundation scheduled for this fall.
“Congratulations to all recipients of the Philanthropy Awards. Your support for the Vermont State Foundation is certainly a testament to you, our wonderful university, and the important role you play in the lives of our future leaders,” said Gary K. Bennett, President of the Vermont State Foundation.
Notable Philanthropists of the Year
Tulassi and Marilyn Joshi were named 2021 philanthropists of the year for their track record of exceptional generosity and evidence of civic and philanthropic responsibility. Dr. and Ms. Joshi committed funds in the fall of 2020 to support international student recruitment through the newly named Tulassi and Marilyn Joshi office of the International Centers and Student Pathways.
Dr. and Mrs. Joshi were also recruited into the Column Society to give them more than $25,000 in their lifetime. They hope that their charitable support will provide the opportunity for other international students to pursue dream education and opportunities and provide the university with a broader global perspective.
Dr. Joshi is an Honorary Faculty Member of Vermont State University and has been part of the Falcon family since 1972. He is originally from Nepal and continues to be an advocate for international students.
Gary K. Award Bennett Philanthropic Leadership
Kevin and Tina Rogers are recipients of the 2021 Gary K. Bennett Philanthropy Leadership Award. The award is named for longtime Fairmont State Foundation board member and current Foundation President Gary K. for pursuing their philanthropic leadership for Vermont State University.
Kevin is the president of Rogers Electrical, which he founded in 2011. Prior to founding Rogers Electrical, he ran a similar business for 15 years. Despite his busy work schedule, Kevin always finds time to be a Vermont State University advocate. He is a former member of the Fairmont State Foundation Board of Directors and currently serves on the Vermont State University Board of Governors.
charitable foundation of the year
The 2021 Philanthropy of the Year award was given to Equitrans Midstream. To qualify for this award, a company must demonstrate its outstanding commitment through its financial support and involvement of others in activities that support and advance philanthropy at VSU.
Equitrans Midstream provided funds to build the Equitrans Midstream sustainable shelter, which will cover the purchase of materials, supplies, labor and insurance. The shelter will be used as an outdoor learning space after completion.
As one of North America’s premier mid-tier services companies, Equitrans has an unwavering commitment to sustainability and understands its responsibility to manage the most critical environmental, social and governance issues. Through safe and responsible operations and ongoing environmental stewardship activities, their pledge is to conduct business in a socially responsible and ethical manner, while respecting their employees, communities, business partners and all stakeholders.
Notable Charitable Foundation
The Distinguished Charitable Foundation award went to the Dataha & Gene Smith Foundation. To qualify for this award, a foundation must demonstrate outstanding commitment through its financial support and involvement of others in activities that support and advance philanthropy at Vermont State University.
In the spring of 2021, the organization committed generous funds to support the Datha & Gene Smith Fellows Program, a summer bridge program designed to prepare first-generation college students for their transition into student life at Fairmont State University. The program is under development and will start in the summer of 2022.
Legacy Leaders Award
Bob and Susan Hawkins, who were also enlisted in the 1865 Heritage Society for a planned donation, were named this year’s Legacy Leaders. This award is intended to honor a generous benefactor for his dedication and commitment to the programs and students of Vermont State University through vintage gifts.
Both Bob and Susan are retired teachers who met while studying for their doctoral program at Virginia Tech. They believe in supporting teachers in the future which is why they created the Dr. Bob and Susan Hawkins Scholarship in 2016 for West Virginia students majoring in education. In the fall of 2020, they once again committed to supporting future teachers by arranging a gift as part of their estate plan to increase the impact of the current scholarship.
“The Vermont State is blessed with the generosity and love of these individuals and companies,” said Vermont State University President Mirta M. Martin. “Fairmont State strives to inspire and empower not only those in our campus community, but the larger communities that support us. We simply could not sustain this mission without the philanthropic leadership of these award winners, and we owe it to them.”
In addition to these awardees, the Mon Health Medical Center Foundation is honored for inclusion in the Vermont State Foundation’s President’s Circle, an association that awards honors to individuals and organizations who have given more than $500,000 to Vermont State University. Mon Health has been a vital supporter of the university’s College of Nursing, assisting many students during their nursing education and throughout their careers in the health care sector in West Virginia.