Kassenbrock Scholarship fundraising event a success

It was an A+ for a local scholarship fund and exceptional students in the community. On March 8, the Kassenbrock Brothers Memorial Scholarship Fund held its annual luncheon at the Bay Ridge Manor in an effort to raise money for exceptional and dedicated students and help them financially as they move on to college.

Elected officials and local activists were on hand for the noble cause.

“It’s a really gratifying experience to be involved in,” said Mary Ann Walsh, who has been the fund’s administrator since 1995. “These kids are getting into great schools because of their grades and their fantastic community service.” Although most high schools require some form of community service to graduate, the fund awards scholarships those individuals who do it because they want to make a difference in the neighborhood.

The main objective of the gathering was vital, yet simple. “It’s to make money,” quipped Walsh. “We are a scholarship fund that gives scholars grants.” In the last four to five years, Kassenbrock has raised over $40,000 each year, which Walsh notes is impressive “given the state of the economy.”

Numerous students apply for the scholarship, but only a handful receives one. “We get lots of applications and give scholarships out to about 14-16 kids.”

Walsh expressed her gratitude towards the individuals who help the various fundraisers, such as trips to Atlantic City and luncheons, successful. “We have had a lot of people who come (to the fundraiser),” she noted. “They are very faithful people.”

Among the key contributors to the scholarship fund are members of the Makrinos family, who dedicate their time and money to keep the fundraiser alive. “We could not live without their help,” Walsh said.

Among the special moments of the day was a birthday celebration for a longtime Kassenbrock supporter. This year, “We celebrated the 100th birthday party of Jean Rosse, the widow of the first administrator of the fundraiser,” explained Walsh. “For the past 10 years, her whole family has attended the luncheon. We’ve always had birthday cake instead of cookies because of that.”

The turnout was diverse and impressive, according to Walsh. “As far as people in attendance, the Bay Ridge Community Council (BRCC) was there. We honor the founders of BRCC [Walter and Vincent Kassenbrock] which was founded in 1951.”

Past BRCC presidents attended, as well as representatives from the Guild For Exceptional Children, the Arab American Association, Community Board 10 and others.

Raffles were also held during the day. “We had phenomenal prizes. Most of the stuff is donated,” noted Walsh. Those gifts included gift certificates to local restaurants, a Keurig Coffee Maker and $200 cash.

Walsh considered the event a positive one in helping students achieve their goals. The recipients of the scholarships will be announced on April 30. “I always look for more (donations),” she concluded. “But we did very well. It was a very nice crowd. The Bay Ridge Manor is very good to us. It was a very big success.”

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