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Theresa E. Bernholz: Awarding Girls' Achievements

The very first grant given by The New York Community Trust was given to the highest-achieving girl graduating from elementary school P.S. 9. The year was 1924, and the sum was twenty dollars.

This grant was awarded from The Trust's first fund, the Theresa E. Bernholz Fund, created that year by Rosebel G. Schiff with $1,000 in memory of her beloved principal. Mrs. Schiff asked that a prize be given to a girl graduating from P.S. 9 who "has earned the highest commendation of her teachers."

The fund stipulates that the winner be chosen by the principal and teachers of the school. The teacher presiding over graduation ceremonies states, "these awards serve to give tangible recognition to our children for their efforts and achievements and serve to motivate them to exert extra effort."

The Theresa E. Bernholz Fund continues to recognize girls graduating from P.S. 9, the Sarah Anderson School, which is now located a few blocks away from its original site at 82nd Street and West End Avenue. Every year, the award is given to the students who demonstrate excellent study habits, participate in community service, and are good role models.

The New York Community Trust will continue to carry out Mrs. Schiff's wish to honor Theresa Bernholz and make dozens of bright girls shine with pride.

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The New York Community Trust is a 501(c)3 public charity.

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