By Linda Chion
For roughly 10 years, Larry Brooks of Sun City Center has been giving back with scholarships to deserving high school seniors set to continue their education.
This year again, Brooks funded two scholarships, including one through his association with the Riverview Woman’s Club, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary in May.
“I had been giving out scholarships at East Bay High for years, where women from the Riverview Woman’s Club were giving out scholarships as well,” Brooks said. “I was very impressed with their organization, and when they opened up the opportunity for men to join as associate members, I jumped at the opportunity.”
Brooks said that for his two annual $1,000 scholarships he targets students in need, primarily female students “because females in a lot of areas have been on the short end of the stick.” He depends on guidance counselors and teachers to make the final determination based on needs-based applications.
“If you are very wealthy, I don’t see any point giving money to you when your kids don’t really need it,” said Brooks, a reverse mortgage consultant who, while in the military, earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and later a master’s degree in sociology. “I went through a time where it was very tough for me, so I can understand what it’s like to be short on funds. Also, even factoring in for inflation, college today is so much more expensive than when I went to school. There’s just no comparison.”
Brooks at first attempted to work with an organization he was affiliated with to raise funds for scholarships. With no interest there, he set out to raise funds on his own, only to find the fundraising effort cost more than the cost of the scholarship itself, and so he personally funds the scholarships in his name.
“As much as you’d like to support everything, you can’t,” Brooks said. “You have to pick and choose the things you want to support. Giving a scholarship to someone who’s trying to better themselves by continuing their education, that’s something I want to do for as long as I’m able to do it.”
For more on the Riverview Woman’s Club, visit www.riverviewwomansclub.org.