Estate Gift Benefits Northark Studends
Posted Date: 4/11/23

The legacy of a Northark employee and former Trustee who died in 2021, will live on with a large contribution designed to give students a helping hand while they attend college.

A $500K donation from the Estate of Sara Jo Fendley was presented to Northark President, Dr. Rick Massengale by Jerry Cash, a friend, colleague, and the executor of Sara Jo’s estate. The check presentation was made amidst a gathering of retired co-workers who enjoyed a variety of pies while sharing memories of Sara Jo and her efforts to help students in need. Sara Jo was a counselor at the college for 17 years. She had a soft spot in her heart for single women with children and she would often give them money and resources to help them succeed in changing their lives with education. Sara Jo did not limit her generosity to single mothers, she helped anyone who asked her or who she thought was struggling.

“This gift will have a tremendous impact on the lives of our students,” says Dr. Rick Massengale, Sr., Northark president. “Sara Jo knew helping students financially allows them to focus on their education as they learn skills which enable them to enter their dream career. We are grateful to Sara Jo for paying it forward by remembering Northark in her estate plan.”

The donation will fund five scholarships with preference given to Searcy County residents. Students can receive up to $5K per year. The scholarships are the Joel Ratchford Scholarship for students pursuing building and trade programs, the John Franklin Fendley Scholarship for business students, the Inez Hensely Scholarship for students pursuing a transfer degree in Family and Consumer Science, the Sara Jo Fendley Scholarship for students majoring in Nutrition, and the Sara Jo Fendley Agriculture Scholarship.

Establishing a scholarship is a gift anyone can make. “Sara Jo saw with her own eyes a gift can be the catalyst that allows an “at risk” student to succeed,” says Rodney Arnold, executive director of the Northark Foundation. “Anyone can establish a scholarship and it is well worth the effort to create a legacy that continues helping others long after the donor is gone.”

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