Experienced manager steps in to help charity

By Meg Olson

A frustrated local mother has offered to become the administrator for the local Dollars for Scholars chapter.

After several months trying to learn why her daughter, Alex, had not received scholarship award monies that were announced last September, Fern Peltier offered to take over financial administration of the beleaguered program.

“I have extensive experience as an administrator and given the concerns with the money management aspects of the charity, I would like to volunteer my services in that capacity,” she wrote to board members Linda Hughes, Steve O’Neill and Wesley Hubbard on February 7.

In addition to her concerns about delayed scholarship disbursement, Peltier said donors had become reluctant to continue giving to the organization, due to concerns regarding money management. “I know from my own experience that donations made by me and my mother-in-law several years ago were never cashed.”

Board members have acknowledged the charity has been on the rocks since founder Davea Fisher stepped down due to health reasons in 2011 and its accreditation by national organization Scholarship America lapsed.

“There have been a number of issues that have been problematic,” O’Neill wrote to Peltier. “I am sorry for the difficulties and delays Alex and others have experienced as a result of our actions, including issues with donors.”

Hughes said board members had been facing “very serious personal obstacles this past year, which has resulted in some unfinished business.”

The local Dollars for Scholars organization has operated for over a dozen years, awarding more than $120,000 in scholarships to community members pursuing postsecondary education. The chapter was reaccredited by Scholarship America in 2015, and began an online-only application process.

In late January, O’Neill wrote to the national organization that the four outstanding scholarship checks had been released, and indicated his hope they would get everything back on track for 2017.

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