Cass County Sheriff’s Office awards SMC $10K

Published 4:08 pm Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees recognized Cass County Sheriff Joseph Underwood Jr. during its regular meeting Monday, where it was announced that the sheriff’s office donated $10,000 to the Community Policing Scholarship.

Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees Vice Chairman Keith McKenzie, right, accepts a $10,000 check from Cass County Sheriff Joseph Underwood Jr. during the college’s Monday board meeting. The donation is from the annual Cass County Community Policing Golf Outing and is applied to the Community Policing Endowed Scholarship fund at the college. The SMC Foundation will match the donation. Submitted photo.

Funds to support the scholarship were raised through the Community Policing Golf Outing that Underwood organizes.

“Community Policing is not just limited to the sheriff’s office, but is also supported by the Cass County Commissioners, businesses from all of Cass County, as well as individuals,” Underwood said. “That’s what makes the golf outing such a success.”

Since establishing the Community Policing Endowed Scholarship in 1997, two to three scholarships of $500 each are given to SMC students each semester.

“The endowed scholarship opportunity is a real plus for the community because the college matches our donation,” Underwood said to the board. “Thank you for allowing us to be partners.”

In addition to the golf outing, the sheriff’s department gives eight $500 scholarships annually — six are awarded to SMC-bound high school students, while two are given to Cass County students who are planning to attend a Michigan college or university. More than 148 scholarships have been awarded over the past 15 years, Underwood said.

According to SMC President David Mathews, the fund exceeded $105,000.

“With the $10,000 donation to this endowment fund tonight and the matching funds provided by the SMC Foundation, the Cass County Community Policing Endowed Scholarship fund has reached a total of $105,930,” Mathews said. “Each year, the college allocates 80 percent of the interest income on this endowment fund to scholarships. The other 20 percent of interest income goes back to the endowment, so the fund will continue to grow indefinitely.”

Mathews also said that the college, including scholarship recipients, is thankful for the funds.

“Everyone here at SMC truly appreciates what Sheriff Underwood has done for the youth of Cass County through awarding these scholarships and establishing this endowment fund that will provide scholarships forever,” Mathews said.