Eliot School gets $25K donation

July 22, 2011
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(Photo by Tom Fama) Fritz Smith (left), chair of the Eastern Massachusetts Guild of Woodworkers, presents a $250 scholarship fund matching donation to Eliot School Director Abigail Norman earlier this month.

PONDSIDE—An anonymous $25,000 donation from a Jamaica Plain family to the Eliot School of Fine & Applied Arts is the basis for a new scholarship fund for low-income students.

The 24 Eliot St. art school, which specializes in such handicrafts as woodworking, is now seeking matching donations for the fund, according to Director Abigail Norman.

“We know the donors well, but they wish to remain anonymous,” Norman said in an email to the Gazette. “Their children have taken classes here and they love the school’s commitment to teaching people how to make things by hand.”

Operating in a small, historic schoolhouse, the nonprofit Eliot School holds art, sewing and woodworking classes. It also operates a School Partnership Program that brings Eliot School classes into Boston Public Schools (BPS). The scholarship fund is intended to help some of those BPS students attend programs at the Eliot School.

“About 74 percent of the students we teach in our school partnerships are low-income, and they would not be able to afford our tuition, even though our tuition is very low,” Norman said.

The fund was established in December without publicity as the school figured how to make it work. But it is already working. It funded scholarships for about a dozen BPS students in the Eliot School’s summer program this year. At least three of those students will continue in Eliot School programs this fall thanks to the scholarship fund, Norman said.

Matching donations to sustain the scholarship fund are now coming in from such groups as the Eastern Massachusetts Guild of Woodworkers.

For more information, see eliotschool.org.

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