NRHA Resident Receives Full Scholarship from The Norfolk Foundation

For More Information: 

Kelly R. Williams

For Immediate Release
Release Date: 
Thu, 08/14/2008

Norfolk, VA (August 14, 2008) – During August, high school graduates around the country begin preparations to head to college campuses with high aspirations. Like most students, Joseph “Joe” Saenz is watching the calendar as the days pass and his college career commences.

What sets Joe apart from a majority of his college-bound peers, aside from his ranking as third in his high school graduating class from Lake Taylor? He is a resident of Diggs Town, one of Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s assisted-rental communities, and also the first recipient of a new scholarship to cover all costs of earning a bachelor’s degree at a public college or university.

Joseph Saenz
Joseph Saenz outside his Diggs town home.
Photo by Glen McClure.

The scholarship Joe received, named the James 2:26 Scholarship Fund, has a preference for students from Hampton Roads living in public or subsidized housing and attending a public college or university in Virginia. An anonymous couple from Virginia Beach established the permanent scholarship fund this year. The scholarship was inspired by the book of James, Chapter 2 verse 26, which says “for as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

Joe will attend Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and plans to study engineering. He has excelled in Norfolk Public Schools’ Norstar robotics program and has been an active volunteer at Nauticus. He is the child of Olivia Caban, a single parent who is no longer able to work as a licensed practical nurse due to disability. Joe also has a younger brother in high school.

This year the James 2:26 Fund Scholarship will provide $15,620 to cover Joe’s tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, including a laptop computer. Joe will be eligible to have the scholarship renewed each year for up to four years, allowing him to complete his bachelor’s degree debt-free.

The Norfolk Foundation plans to add another recipient next year while continuing to support Joe through his four years of college.

About The Norfolk Foundation

The Norfolk Foundation is a regional community foundation that is the largest scholarship and grant provider in southeastern Virginia. This year 285 students are on scholarship, receiving a total of $767,219. The foundation administers more than 50 scholarship funds. The James 2:26 Fund is the official first full-ride scholarship fund. Since 1950 the foundation has provided more than $14 million in scholarships to more than 3,428 individuals. Most scholarships were for four years of study.

About NRHA: 

Founded in 1940, NRHA is a national leader in community revitalization and fostering sustainable mixed-income communities. As the largest redevelopment and housing authority in Virginia, NRHA plays a key role in making Norfolk the city of choice to build, work, live and play.

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