Four years ago, Arlington businessman Bobby Lee and his daughter Tiffany wanted to make a gift to Marymount that would support a local student and provide a model for other business leaders to follow. Their brainchild, called “A Partnership with Marymount,” established an annual $10,000 scholarship with very specific criteria: It is awarded to an Arlington resident who has a record of academic success and will work at least part-time while attending Marymount in order to help pay for his or her educational expenses.
Mr. Lee explains, “The focus here is on our local community. This scholarship is for an Arlington student who really wants a great college education. We want to help kids who have financial need and are willing to work to achieve their goals.” He adds, “It’s our hope that this program will expand. Other businesses can establish scholarships at Marymount to benefit students from their communities – whether they’re based in Arlington; Fairfax; Washington, DC; or somewhere further away.”
The Lees, who own Mr. Days Sports Rock Café, are active members of the Arlington community with a long history of supporting organizations that improve the lives of area residents. They have created local programs called “Send a Kid to Camp” and “Feed the Families.” They also support Clarendon House, a facility that encourages independence for adults with serious mental illness; various philanthropic projects of the Arlington County Police Department; and community programs that assist high school students.
Bobby Lee began his career in the restaurant business in Washington, DC, where he worked for 25 years. During that time, he helped numerous individuals, many of them innercity children, through his involvement with a variety of nonprofit organizations and on an individual basis. Recently, at an airport, Mr. Lee had an experience that reminded him of the value of helping others. In a casual conversation while waiting for his plane, he introduced himself. The man he was talking with immediately asked whether he was the Bobby Lee who had been involved in the DC restaurant business years ago. When Mr. Lee answered that he was, the man said, “You helped my father get his green card! If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be here.” Bobby Lee reflects, “You never know what will happen when you do a good deed, however small.”
Biology major Reygil Rafols has been the recipient of the Lees’ scholarship. She recently wrote to them, “You have answered my mother’s prayers. You are both great people for helping others out, and that’s the kind of footsteps I want to follow.” Reygil is an Arlington resident who maintains an impressive grade point average while holding down an off-campus job.
Bobby Lee says, “We are proud to have helped Reygil achieve her dream of a Marymount education. We look forward to seeing who our next scholarship recipient will be, after Reygil graduates.”
He adds, “The ‘Partnership with Marymount’ program just makes sense. It’s a thriving university and an important part of our community. We feel good about helping to ensure that hard-working Arlingtonians have a chance to obtain the excellent education that Marymount offers.”
As 2011 begins, the University hopes to expand the “Partnership with Marymount” program by identifying more business leaders who, like Bobby and Tiffany Lee, are interested in establishing scholarships to support students from their local communities. For information on how your business can participate, contact Emily Mahony, vice president for development, at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (703) 284-1646.