After more than two decades at the helm of The Stephen Phillips Memorial Scholarship Fund, Managing Trustee Arthur Emery and Program Director Karen Emery have retired.
As every recipient knows, Mrs. Betty Phillips conceived of the scholarship after the death of her husband, Stephen Phillips, in 1971. Anxious to see how it would work after her death when it would be funded from her estate, she told Arthur, who managed the Phillips family office at the time, that she wanted to “play dead,” making a small gift to the program and assisting in the selection of the first rounds of recipients for several years. After her death in 1996, Arthur and Karen, his wife, developed the program from Mrs. Phillips' initial concept to the significant institution that it is today.
According to the Emerys, “The first year’s applications all fit in one small file box, and the Trustees met around Mrs. Phillips’ dining room table to vote the first awards. Now, around the application deadline in May, the incoming mail on any one day alone is four to six post office cartons. Since 1991, The Stephen Phillips Memorial Scholarship Fund has provided $40 million to more than 3,000 students. It is heartening to us to read about the paths these scholars take after college, with so many of them choosing careers or volunteering their time in ways that show their commitment to the Scholarship’s ideal of serving others and improving the communities around us. It has given us great joy to see the Scholarship live out Mrs. Phillips’ vision of assisting scholars who would become valuable and productive members of society and who give back to others through a wide range of careers and endeavors.”
Although retiring as Managing Trustee, Mr. Emery will continue to serve on the Board as a trustee.
The Trustees of The Stephen Phillips Memorial Scholarship Fund have announced the appointment of Barbara Welles Iler as Executive Director of the fund.
For most of Ms. Iler’s professional career, she has been dedicated to providing underserved youth with educational opportunities that promote academic achievement and social responsibility. As a director of Student Sponsor Partners, a large scholarship and mentoring program in New York City, she grew aware of the need for urban education that offers both an academic and a living environment. Responding to this need, she founded ANCHOR, a pioneering nonprofit organization that established New York City’s first two boarding school programs for low-income youth, and the urban boarding school model is now becoming a national trend.
Ms. Iler currently serves on the board of Boys Hope Girls Hope New York, an organization that addresses the needs of youth whose potential is threatened by factors beyond their control, and A Leg To Stand On, a non-profit organization that provides prosthetics and corrective surgeries to disabled children in developing countries. She lives in Wenham with her husband and children.
According to Managing Trustee Arthur Emery, “Barbara brings a wealth of experience in education and scholarship funding; a compassionate understanding of today’s youth; and a passion to continue both Stephen and Betty Phillips’ vision for enabling students with limited financial resources to achieve high academic goals. As my wife and I retire, we know the scholarship is in good hands.”