The Martha Schofield Scholarship Fund, Aiken, South Carolina, established 1952, Quaker, Bucks County, scholarships higher education, over 1000 awards made

History of the Martha Schofield Scholarship Fund

Martha Schofield was born in 1839 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and raised as a Quaker.  At the age of 25, she decided to spend her life helping people who had been enslaved. Martha went to work for The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, often called “The Freedmen’s Bureau.” In 1868 Martha established the Schofield School in Aiken, South Carolina, the first school for the benefit of African American youth.   Every child was taught the basic skills of reading, writing and math. However, boys learned additional skills such as how to be blacksmiths, shoemakers and carpenters, while girls were taught “home skills” like cooking and sewing. Martha passed away in 1916 and after 82 years of operation, financing such a school via contributions became increasingly unrealistic.  After much study and consultation, arrangements were made to transfer the school, property, and cash assets of Schofield to the Aiken County Board of Education, for operation as a public school.  The Martha Schofield Junior High School still exists today and is a tribute to the vision of a young Quaker woman who was committed to making a meaningful education available to African American students.

The Martha Schofield Scholarship Fund was established using money held by the Schofield School trustees. By board resolution in 1952, the Schofield School Trustees transferred funds to FFC to serve as fiduciary of the Schofield Scholarship Fund. The Fund began awarding scholarships to students in 1954.   The Fund awards scholarships to African American students who have attended Aiken County S.C. Schools and Martha Schofield Junior High School (preferably) and who plan to pursue education beyond high school. Each year 12-20 students receive awards from the Martha Schofield Scholarship Fund. The primary evaluating criteria relied upon by the Schofield Distribution Committee is need.