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University of South Florida Student Uses Love of Reading to Impact Others

This article was written by Johnson Scholar Elaine Feaster, a student at the University of South Florida. It is shared here with permission.

A person stands by an outdoor lending library shaped like a small house on a pole and a box of children's books.

Elaine poses with a Little Lending Library at the University Area Community Park, where she donated books as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award.

My name is Elaine Feaster and I’m a recipient of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation, which will help me pursue my academic and career goals. In August, I started at the University of South Florida in the College of Education. I’m so excited to officially begin working toward my profession in education—as I believe that the education of children is the foundation of our society. 

I’m studying to be a secondary social science teacher with my goal to get a PhD to eventually teach at the university level. I have always had a passion for helping others, as demonstrated through my over 475 service volunteer hours during high school, so I knew that helping others in some capacity would be at the heart of my career.

During my four years at Freedom High School in Tampa, I was a part of the National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, National Science Honor Society, National Latin Honor Society, Key Club, Environmental Club, FBLA, Best Buddies, and the varsity volleyball team. Outside of school, I have volunteered with the Girl Scouts, YMCA, Knights of Columbus, Greater Tampa Bay Blue Star Mothers, Metropolitan Ministries, and Oasis Opportunities. I have devoted many hours to the YMCA. For four years I was a youth volunteer coach for volleyball, where I mentored, helped, and encouraged young volleyball players to develop their skills and sportsmanship.

The volunteering I’m most proud of is the time I spent working on my Girl Scout Gold Award, focusing on Literary Awareness. When I was in third grade, I was diagnosed with a reading disability, so literacy was at the top of ways I could give back. I began promoting literacy and getting books into the hands of children who didn’t have them.

This past summer I completed my Girl Scout Gold Award, where I collected and donated 4,400 books to at-risk students and communities (stamped with my website; now in total I have donated 11,500 books to underperforming schools), created a resource Literacy Portal Website——to help people understand the importance of reading, and I created a Book Buddy resource information packet (which can be downloaded from my website) on how schools can help struggling students with reading. I wanted to make a lasting impact in my community and help children, knowing that other students have similar challenges that I have.

Receiving this scholarship has helped me be able to live on campus, which I absolutely love. I’m close to my classes, I meet friends at the dining halls and pool, I’ve participated in many campus events and activities, and I use all of the study resources. USF is such a great school, with diverse communities and getting to meet so many new people. After taking a semester to get familiar with the school, I plan on joining a few clubs and organizations next semester getting more involved with the USF community. I enjoy my classes and making connections with my classmates and professors. Even though the university is big, I have gotten to know my instructors—and that connection is invaluable. I look forward to being a part of the USF community in the years to come.

Johnson Scholars Foundation Grants $50,000 to Palm Beach Atlantic University

This article was originally published by our grantee partner, Palm Beach Atlantic University. It is shared here with permission.

JSF's CEO Bobby Krause, former CFO Dick Krause, and PBA's President Dr. Debra Schwinn post for a photo while holding a check.Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA) has received a generous $50,000 grant from the Johnson Scholars Foundation (JSF). The one-time grant is in celebration of Richard A. Krause, who retired as the Foundation’s chief financial officer. Krause, who is also a trustee at PBA, selected the gift to be made in his honor to benefit the university’s Bebe Warren Scholars Program, which supports students pursuing a degree in elementary education. 

 “I am happy to make this donation to PBA’s Bebe Warren Scholars Program as I step into retirement. Don Warren got me started with the Johnson Scholarship Foundation by inviting me to have lunch with him and Theodore R. Johnson, Sr. in 1990,” said Richard Krause, Johnson Scholars Foundation director emeritus and former CFO. “The university has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to educating the next generation of leaders–something that JSF also deeply supports.”

 The announcement was made at The Breakers Palm Beach during a reception hosted by the Foundation on Friday, December 1, 2023, to honor Krause.

 “We are so grateful to the Johnson Scholarship Foundation for this generous gift,” said PBA President Dr. Debra Schwinn, who attended the reception. “Dick Krause exudes integrity and his commitment to education and service is inspiring. Many of our students are deeply in need—some work two or three jobs, and many of them are first-generation students. This support will help us equip more aspiring teachers who will invest in the next generation of scholars.”

 Palm Beach Atlantic University and the Johnson Scholarship Foundation (JSF) share a longstanding history. Theodore R. Johnson and his wife, Vivian Chesley Macleod Johnson, became supporters of PBA after Founding Chairman Dr. Donald E. Warren introduced them to the university in 1982.

The JSF is PBA’s largest scholarship supporter, providing scholarships to qualified students who wish to pursue higher education but cannot otherwise afford to do so. The impact of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation is profound, with over 6,000 more than 6,000 students representing dozens of countries, states and academic programs receiving Johnson Scholarships. These students are known on PBA’s campus as “Johnson Scholars.”

“The Foundation is thrilled to distribute this gift to PBA,” said Robert A. Krause, the Foundation’s CEO and the son of Richard A. Krause. “We share the university’s values of free enterprise, leadership, perseverance and social responsibility and believe that investing in education is the best means to empower people to get better jobs, become more independent and participate more fully in our society.”

 Richard A. Krause joined the Johnson Scholarship Foundation at its inception in 1991 as a trustee and treasurer. In 2015—at age 75—he retired as a board member and treasurer. He then served as their chief financial officer, overseeing the organization’s accounting, finance, banking and investment activities through July 2023.

 Before working with the Foundation, Krause served as treasurer and chief financial officer for Rinker Materials Corporation and Gee and Jenson Engineers-Architects-Planners. In addition to his work at PBA and the Johnson Foundation, he is a director at the Marshall E. Rinker, Sr. Foundation and is actively involved with First Baptist Church in Wauchula, Florida, where he lives. He has six married children, 21 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

 The Bebe Warren Scholars Program is named after the late Bebe Warren, a retired educator and wife of the late Dr. Donald E. Warren. He established the scholarship in 2001 in partnership with the Johnson Scholarship Foundation.

 To learn more about Palm Beach Atlantic University, click here.