The NDA does not charge dues. To date any revenue, we receive is through the bi-annual NDA Reunion Auction, the sale of T-shirts and ball caps (from which the profit is minimal) and donations. So, as long as we continue to do well at the bi-annual auction and continue to receive scholarship donations, your NDA will have a Scholarship Fund and continue to give annual scholarships per our application standards.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, and those students presently (or formerly) enrolled in the Navy Divers Scholarship Program, we wish to both report the program status and to thank all of you who have contributed to make that program a success.
As a tribute to David Ball, HMCS (DV/SS) who served as our Executive Director for many years, and a man who contributed so much of his time and energy to our success, the program is now identified in his name.
During the 2002 Harbor Clearance Union reunion in San Diego the members in attendance voted to restart the Navy Divers Association that had been officially started in 1972 but then discontinued in the late ‘70’s. However, it was not until August 2013 that the organization was officially incorporated in California as a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization. A Board of Directors was elected and worked with David to reinvigorate NDA and plan its’ future.
The Board realized that to justify being a non-profit organization more must be done beside merely having members and holding periodic reunions. Accordingly, plans to raise funds to support a Navy Divers Association scholarship program were initiated. This was (and is) a program that offers funding to children, grandchildren, or adopted children of Navy Divers who had graduated from a Navy diving school.
We began with limited funding able to only cover one year of college for two persons but by 2021 had increased to six persons. With the passage of we realized that raising funds was not an easy task; especially that of raising sufficient funds to sponsor the desired growth of such a program. Therefore, it was not until 2017 that we were able to advertise the program and select the first class of students. From those slow beginning we have accelerated the program commencing in 2018 when our first student was granted $2500. That student went on through four years of college with her sister also selected to the program commencing in 2019.
Since inception the program has changed and matured. From a start of $2500/year for the first several students we have been able to increase the number of selectees by decreasing the sum of award to $2000/year but covering all four years of college if the student maintains a high GPA. Due to the generosity of both members and non-members we have been fortunate this year to receive significant donations that will permit going forward at the $2500 yearly level while simultaneously increasing the number of scholarships offered. We are being careful to ensure that we maintain funds on deposit to fully cover our pledge of financial assistance to each selected awardee.
To date NDA has funded 16 students with four having completed four years of college and with 12 currently active in the program. Funds permitting, we have and will continue attempts to increase the number of program students each year. Our only limitation is with respect to raising additional funds to permit expansion of the program. To that end, where possible please consider NDA as a responsible organization both able to appreciate your contribution and simultaneously able to help the “kids” coming up behind us.
On behalf of your Board of Directors again, thank you!
Ross Saxon, LCDR/SS/DV (Ret), President
Jim Phalin, HTCM/MDV (Ret), Executive Director
Bill Zbaeren, CDR/DV (Ret)
"Skip" Lash, BMCS/DV (Ret)
Bill Sherman, SK2(SS)
The deadline for filing for the Scholarship Application is 31 March and decisions will be made regarding the awards during May of the same year.
Additional scholarships will be awarded each year. Information regarding the applications will go out NLT 31 December for the following year.
Eligibility for the NDA Scholarship, as defined, is an individual under age 23, and be the son, daughter, grandchild, or great grandchild (including legally adopted and stepchildren) of a living member of the NDA in good standing. In the case of deceased members, the member must have been in good standing at the time of his/her death.
Your NDA had eighteen (18) scholarship applicants this year (2021). The eighteen applicants included three students who have maintained excellent grades and are returning for another year. Your Board of Directors (BoD) agreed three (3) years ago to fund their annual selection for the applicant’s undergraduate education not to exceed four (4) years.
Unfortunately, your NDA did not receive many donations in 2020 and 2021 so we were constrained as to the number of applicants we were financially able to support. We were only financially able to award $10,000 in scholarships to five applicants. Your NDA would have LOVED to award more scholarships, but we are constrained by the money we have available.
Thank goodness we have some (who have NO skin in the game and are retired Navy Divers) who do continually contribute. That makes up the bulk of the Scholarship Fund. We also get a small amount from Amazon Smile and The Network for Good.
This year (2021) we were ONLY able to accommodate the following five applicants:
- Chloe Cullen -- two more years as she is entering her sophomore year
- Serena Lovell -- three more years
- Cassandra Branham -- last year
- Arianna Lovell -- one more year
- Dylan Blanchard -- two more years
It was extremely difficult for the BoD to select the two new applicants because we had such an outstanding field of applicants from which to select.