The B3 Foundation Announces Winner of the 2021 Future Community Leaders Scholarship
University of Oregon-bound Freshman Denise Akabey Will Receive $10,000 Annually for College Expenses, 1-to-1 Mentorship & Support Throughout College
May 24, 2021 – The B3 Foundation, the nonprofit organization founded by NFL Offensive Lineman Zach Banner focused on youth empowerment and education, announced today the first-ever recipient of its Future Community Leaders Scholarship. Denise Akabey, senior at Hauppauge High School in Commack, New York, is the winner of the $10,000 per year scholarship which celebrates youth community service and leadership.Denise Akabey is a high school senior attending Hauppauge High School in New York. A Turkish Muslim immigrant and the sole English speaker in her family, Denise has helped her family navigate daily responsibilities her entire life. For most of her life, Denise and her mother have been homeless – living in their car or shelters when possible. Despite these hardships, she managed to excel in school and as a leader in her community. She has volunteered at her local church helping others in the homeless community, assisted in teaching English to non-native speakers, and volunteered with a children’s theater workshop. Denise also received an award for the Spanish National Honor Society program and has been a part of numerous clubs including Student Council, Ignition, and Best Buddies. This fall she will become the first member of her family to both graduate from high school and attend college, continuing her studies at the University of Oregon. Denise plans to become a teacher, inspiring the next generation of students through education and advocacy.
The Future Community Leaders Scholarship seeks to identify students who are committed to becoming leaders and change-makers, and will provide them the opportunity to excel in their chosen field in college and thereafter. As a recipient, Akabey will receive $10,000 annually for four years that will go towards college expenses as she pursues her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Oregon. Akabey will also be paired with a mentor who will guide and coach her throughout her college experience. And she will be invited to participate in B3 Foundation board meetings and project planning.
“I’m really proud that we’ve selected Denise as our first-ever scholarship winner,” said B3 Foundation Founder Zach Banner. “She exemplifies the qualities of a leader, one who has overcome struggle but remains hopeful and focused on what lies ahead. She’s part of our family now at B3 and that means we’re always going to be by her side.”
“Denise embodies all the characteristics that the B3 Foundation values: empathy, collaboration, hope and leadership,” says B3 Foundation Executive Director Sarah Bergstrom. “Her understanding of and commitment to community is powerful. And her story of resilience and hope even more so.”
The 2022 Future Community Leaders Scholarship will open for applications in November 2021.