Friday, May 27, 2011

Perpetual scholarship of $1,000 ensured in the name of Amber Webb-Bowerman

A cheque presented to SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary in the name of Amber Webb-Bowerman marked a significant milestone in a remarkable memorial drive. Friends of the journalist, slain three years ago, have managed now, with the $10,497.93 cheque, to build an endowment of more than $28,500 which will ensure that a journalism scholarship of $1,000 will be given in her name in perpetuity. 
“It was through many small acts of kindness and the donations of so many people in Calgary and across the country that this was possible. We appreciate the help from all of our donors, the supporters, and the media as well as those who participate in the annual fundraising events,” says Kathe Lemon, the President of the Amber Webb-Bowerman Memorial Foundation. “This isn’t the most significant donation ever in terms of the absolute amount, but it is truly a huge donation in terms of the number of people who came together to make it happen and who put their thoughts into making something positive from tragedy.”
The Amber Webb-Bowerman Memorial Foundation (AWBMF) is a registered charity that was established in the summer of 2008 to honour and preserve the memory of journalist Amber Michelle Bowerman (nee Webb) who was killed in a multiple murder-suicide on May 27, 2008.
“The foundation was set up with both obvious and implicit goals. We wanted to develop scholarships to support the growth of students because that was important to Amber and reflective of her own aspirations,” says Lemon. “But we also had an implicit goal to create something that would help us heal as a community and do something positive with our grief. In establishing this lasting legacy I think we’ve helped to reach both of those goals.”
Webb-Bowerman had studied journalism at SAIT Polytechnic and later became the full-time editor of the SAIT’s campus newspaper, The Weal, where she helped lead, mentor and teach the student reporters.
Ashley Kascak was the inaugural winner of the Amber Webb-Bowerman Memorial journalism scholarship at SAIT in 2009.
“It meant a lot because it came at a time of my life when I was questioning if I was doing that right thing (being a journalist). It confirmed that what I was doing was right because of who she (Amber) was and what the scholarship was about,” explains Kascak. “Journalism is what I care about and it meant a lot.She must have been incredible. From what I have heard and read about, she touched a lot of people and had a great heart. She was caring of others and because of that, others cared about her. And of course, she excelled in journalism too.” ”
The foundation's next goal is to establish a similar endowment at Mount Royal University in Calgary. The foundation also plans to continue supporting the annual student writing award it has established with the Western Magazine Awards Foundation.

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