Southern Scholarship Foundation (SSF) provides rent-free, cooperative living housing for students who lack financial resources, demonstrate excellent academic merit, and exemplify good character. SSF was founded in 1955 by Dr. Mode Stone, the Dean of Education at FSU, and the Foundation has now served close to 10,000 students over its 65-year history.
Our goal for FSU's Great Give is to provide support for the Southern Scholarship Foundation endeavors which include two students who have experienced homelessness or food insecurity a rent-free home for one year -- and help and support them in their journey to graduate from college and go on to a successful career. Many SSF residents have struggled with shelter, and some have experienced housing instability throughout their life, moving from apartment to apartment, sleeping in vehicles, or traversing friends’ couches. SSF has been collecting data and 25% of our residents faced housing insecurities prior to joining the program. Additionally, 34% of SSF applicants reported that they have experienced food insecurity, described as not having enough food or money to buy food.
During the global pandemic last year, many of our residents faced hardships and uncertainties – including the loss of jobs, transitioning to online classes, safety of family, and stress from balancing academics and health. Through these challenges, all 26 SSF houses remained open to provide residents a home and stability. That was possible because of the tremendous support of our SSF alumni and donors like you.
"SSF has been fundamentally indispensable for me and my family during the outbreak of COVID-19. I cannot put into words how much I am grateful for SSF's decision to remain open to its residents. I don't know what I would've done otherwise and can't even begin to fathom what consequences could've unfolded had I gone home. These times have been rough, to say the least, but all I can say is that my love and admiration for this community has only gotten stronger." - Julia C., Badcock Scholarship House
SSF is so much more than financial savings. Residents live in a cooperative living environment that teaches valuable life skills and offers a support system. SSF residents pay for their food and utilities only, while also being accountable to manage the household budget, cook and clean with each other, and take on leadership positions. They cook and eat dinner together four nights a week and there is always a full pantry of food. Lifelong friendships are formed within the walls of SSF scholarship houses. SSF operates 16 houses in Tallahassee, and 10 additional houses throughout Florida. Compared to other housing options, like dorms, SSF saves each resident approximately $13,000 annually, making a college education affordable and attainable. We are so proud that 78% of SSF residents from Spring 2020 graduated with $0 in student debt!
In SSF homes, the cooperative living and leadership experiences stretch into lifelong impacts. As one recent SSF alum wrote, “I learned so much about relationship building with people from different backgrounds and learning how to interact and socialize with people from different places in the world!”
Help us continue to support our extraordinary SSF residents.