The Simpson Foundation was established by the will of Martha Patton Simpson to honor her parents, Ransom Overton Simpson & Elizabeth Gulley Simpson. The elder Simpsons felt, particularly after the devastation caused by the “War between the States,” that “education would be the salvation of the South”. To support this belief, they took a very active role in encouraging and enhancing educational opportunities for both black & white children.
Martha Simpson was born in Wilcox County on September 5, 1886, one of five Simpson children who grew up on the plantation and attended public schools in Furman. After her high school graduation in 1904, Martha went on to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where she received a B.A. degree in 1908.
Martha Simpson shared her parents’ faith in education as a key to the South’s prosperity, and she also took an active part in supporting education throughout her lifetime. She died on May 28, 1982, but in her will she has provided that the Simpson role in the educating of the youth of Wilcox County will continue, through the establishment of The Simpson Foundation.
The purpose of The Simpson Foundation is best stated in Miss Simpson’s own words, as written in her will: “It is my earnest desire to aid & assist worthy & ambitious young men & women of Wilcox County, Alabama, who are in need of financial assistance, to acquire a good education in order that they may be better fitted & better qualified to appreciate & help in the preservation of the Constitution and laws of this country, & to defend its flag & by their conduct as good citizens to reflect honor on Wilcox County & the State of Alabama. To that end, this trust is created… for the establishment & provision of scholarships to colleges, universities,… trade or vocational schools,… (or) post-graduate education in professional fields.”
Simpson Foundation Grants
It is the stated purpose of The Simpson Foundation to provide scholarships & study grants to “worthy & ambitious” high school graduates in Wilcox County. These grants will be made each year by the Trustees of the Foundation, to young men & women who need financial aid for study & training beyond that offered by high school.
A Simpson Foundation Study Grant may support any one of a very wide range of studies. Any course of study, from a degree in medicine to training in auto mechanics, may be supported by a grant. The amount of the grant will be determined at the time of the award.
Students receiving grants will be expected to submit regular reports on their progress to the Trustees, & for those students whose reports are deemed satisfactory, grants for additional years of study may be made. The student must apply for a grant each year.
The number & size of the grants to be made will depend each year in several factors, including the amount of money available to the Trustees for grants from The Simpson Trust & the cost of the course of study chosen by the applicants who are selected to receive awards.
In order to be considered for a Simpson Foundation Grant, an applicant must:
- be a graduate of an accredited high school. Applications will also be accepted from high school seniors who expect to graduate at the end of the current academic year, from students who have passed the high school equivalency exam, or from students who have been accepted into the technical training program at Alabama Southern Community College or George Wallace Community College & who expect to study for & pass the GED exam.
- be a resident of Wilcox County
- need financial aid to receive education beyond high school; &
- submit a completed application form