OGR Foundation Awards Record-Level Scholarships

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Order of the Golden Rule

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OGR Foundation Awards Record-Level Scholarships

INDIANAPOLIS – The Order of the Golden Rule Foundation is proud to announce it has granted scholarships to a record nine students as part of its 2022 Awards of Excellence scholarship program.

These are awarded each year to mortuary students based on strong academic performance, community involvement and an essay exemplifying a commitment to serving grieving families with compassion, fairness and dignity. The foundation has traditionally given away two scholarships each year worth just over $5,000 total. This year’s program doubled to $10,000 across nine students.

The 2022 Gold Award of Excellence recipient is Donavin Miles of the Columbus Technical College in Columbus, Georgia. Miles is a part-time student with a 4.0 GPA who wants to be part of the “honorable legacy” of independent funeral homes’ work within the communities they serve.

“My desire to enter the funeral service profession is not just about a career path, but a call to serve,” Miles said. “During my restorative arts class, I discovered natural artistic abilities with my hands that I was not aware of. I found restorative arts to not feel like doing work but instead found it satisfying and therapeutic. My desire is to advance my restorative arts skills and specialize in restoring minor to major restorative cases. My goal is to reduce closed casket funerals and give families the opportunity to have the final viewings that they deserve.”

Miles was awarded $3,500 to help complete his studies, which he plans to finish in December.

Kieron A. Keegan of Humber College in Toronto received the Silver Award of Excellence for $2,000. He goes to school fulltime while also working as an office manager and funeral director intern at a local funeral home.

“Families entrust Funeral Service Professionals with something more valuable than money or gold, they trust us with their loved one – a sacred trust that must never be broken,” Keegan said. “My commitment to the families I am called to serve, as well as those who have selected another establishment, is complete honesty, fairness and transparency in all interactions, at all times.”

The foundation also gave away two Bronze-level scholarships worth $1,000 each to Rae Guntz of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Program of Mortuary Science, and Joyce Howard of John Tyler Community College in Chester, Virginia.

Five $500 scholarships were awarded to:

  • Daniel C. Bowman, Mid-America College of Funerary Service | Jeffersonville, Indiana
  • Rachel Dam, Humber College | Toronto, Ontario
  • Katie Gochanour, Milwaukee Area Technical College | West Allis, Wisconsin
  • Courtney Richards, American Academy McAllister Institute | New York, New York
  • Madeline Stoneman, Humber College | Etobicoke, Ontario

All scholarship recipients who are able to attend OGR’s Annual Conference in Indianapolis May 15 – 17 will be recognized as part of the Golden Circle Celebration Dinner.

“Donavin, Kieron and all of our scholarship recipients each exemplify the heart for personal service that OGR stands for, and we are excited to welcome them into our profession,” said Kim Hunter, president of the OGR Foundation.

Scholarships are funded by donations to the OGR Foundation, the charitable arm of the Order of the Golden Rule and a registered nonprofit under IRS Tax Code 501(c)(3). Its mission is to fund, perform and/or support activities on behalf of OGR that advance the standards of funeral service or contribute to the compassionate care of individuals in need.

This year’s leap in scholarships was thanks to the generosity of OGR’s members, including two matching grants. Mike & Marie Butler and their children John & Nicki Butler of Livingston-Butler-Volland Funeral & Cremation Center in Hastings, Nebraska, offered a $5,000 matching grant for all donations made during the 2021 Golden Circle Celebration virtual event. Paul Hummel, III, of Hummel Funeral Homes in Akron, Ohio, offered another $2,000 matching grant for year-end donations. Both matches were met and exceeded by donations from other OGR members.

Learn more and make your tax-deductible donation at OGR.org/Foundation.

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About the Order of the Golden Rule

Founded in 1928, OGR is an association of independently owned and operated funeral homes throughout North America and overseas that share common goals of exemplary service, uncompromising care and compassion to families in their time of need. For more information, visit OGR.org.