In 1993, Kay and Allen Ertel established a scholarship foundation, in memory of their adopted son, Taylor, to benefit students who have been placed in foster care at some point in their lives. For nearly 20 years, Mr. and Mrs. Ertel administered the fund, soliciting donations from friends and family. In 2012, looking to ensure that the scholarships continue forever, Mr. and Mrs. Ertel moved the fund to the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania, creating the Taylor J. Ertel Scholarship Fund. Since the transfer, FCFP has granted $40,620 from the Fund.
Mr. Ertel, U.S. Representative from the 17th Congressional District from 1976 to 1982, has served as counsel for a statewide child placement agency headquartered in Philadelphia. As such, he and Mrs. Ertel became aware that foster children seldom know the stability and sense of family that Taylor enjoyed.
According to Mrs. Ertel, “following state law, foster children ‘age out’ at 18.” At that critical age they must fend for themselves with few opportunities for furthering their education. “Many of them never get a chance,” she says. The Ertels’ scholarship fund provides that chance. “Applicants don’t have to be outstanding scholars,” Mr. Ertel says. “They can be enrolled in any program of study—a college, technical school or vocational school. The scholarship is seed money to get them moving,” he says.
For Patrick Fusaro, a senior enrolled in Temple University’s Sport and Recreation Management program, the Taylor J. Ertel Scholarship has brought new opportunities. “This scholarship has been so important to me. I can’t thank Mr. and Mrs. Ertel enough,” he says. In May, Mr. Fusaro will graduate, an event that he sees as “bittersweet. I will miss Temple, but I am eager to get out and start my career.”