Hi. My name is Marga Fripp. I'm the chief pollinator of good at What Matters.

What Matters is a social enterprise and multimedia publishing platform that cultivates, nurtures and advances positive change in our lives and in the world.

The Appalachian Bootstrap Leadership Scholarship

The Appalachian Bootstrap Leadership Scholarship

I am excited to share that Jesse and I initiated an educational project, and would love to invite you to join in with us to make it possible.

We created a scholarship endowment - the Appalachian Bootstrap Leadership Scholarship to help low-income people with demonstrated leadership potential to attend undergraduate studies at Warren Wilson College.

Our vision is to co-fund this every year with friends, family and people who value education. This year we contributed $6,000, and with generous support from friends like you we hope to reach a first-year goal of $12,000 by December 31st, 2018.

Why does this matter to us? Both Jesse and I have been incredibly fortunate to be able to go to college despite all life’s challenges and adversity. We want to pay it forward to the next generation of leaders and change-makers.

When I think of my own education, I feel immense gratitude. Gratitude for my community college, Montgomery College, Maryland and for the generous people who donated to the college to support my education as a recent immigrant to the US, a mother of two young children and a full-time volunteer building Empowered Women International.

The college awarded me a small merit scholarship toward my associate degree. I was ecstatic that someone believed in me. This led me to win a national scholarship award in 2004, the New Century Scholar Award, that contributed to a partial scholarship to the University of Maryland for an undergraduate degree and visibility for Empowered Women International.

When I look back to where I came from and the places I traveled to, I see a recurring pattern. No matter how impossible things were, there was always a kind and generous someone who believed in me. Who opened my eyes and steered me in the right direction. This may also be true for you.

I’ve learned early on that none of us can succeed alone. That we need each other at every step of the way. We need to know that someone believes in us. That we are not alone or separated. That we belong.

Poverty divides us, and it hurts.

It hurts all of us. Education, on the other hand, empowers. It leads to economic prosperity, to voice, opportunity and possibility. Both Jesse and I witnessed this time and again with thousands of people we’ve worked with, who continue to inspire us and lead change in our world.

I hope you can join us in making a generous year-end tax-deductible gift to give the dream of education to someone in need.


Thank you for your generosity and for being part of this project.

With love and gratitude,

Marga & Jesse ❤️🐝

About the Scholarship

“Much of the Southern Appalachians is as underdeveloped, when compared with the affluence of the rest of the nation, as the newly independent countries of Africa.” Julius Duscha, 1960

Fifty years on, even after the focus of the War on Poverty, and the efforts of federal and state cooperation through the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Southern Appalachian region evinces the signs of a systemic poverty trap, driven by persistent lack of educational, socio-economic and infrastructure opportunities. Appalachian poverty rates are persistently more than 20% higher than the rest of the US, and nearly 1 in 4 households in Appalachia subsist below the Federal poverty line - making Southern Appalachia one of the main focal points of the problem of inequality that is threatening America and the world, today.

What is the Appalachian Bootstrap Leadership Scholarship?

The Appalachian Bootstrap Leadership Scholarship (ABL) is an endowment fund that supports disadvantaged and low-income students with demonstrated leadership potential to attend undergraduate studies at Warren Wilson College.

The scholarship honors the original mission of Warren Wilson College to provide mountain youth from low-income or disadvantaged homes with rigorous academic and intellectual underpinning that is grounded in the values of hard work and community service.

The ABL focuses on high-potential students from the broader Appalachian region that includes mountain communities (as defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission) in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland.

The ABL seeks to identify and inspire mountain scholars who evidence strength of character, personal integrity, and leadership potential. This will be shown through service or work experience that had positive impact on others, or through innovative or artistic endeavors, or socially-beneficial entrepreneurial activity.

The Fripp Family: Arthur Fripp, Geanina Fripp, Amiel Emerson, Marga and Jesse Fripp (left to right)

Who created the Appalachian Bootstrap Leadership Scholarship and why?

Jesse, a 1994 graduate of Warren Wilson, and his wife and life partner Marga created this scholarship as a way to “pay it forward” to the next generation of community leaders.

Jesse spent his early childhood in a low-income environment in Western North Carolina, the child of a single mother with a health disability who despite her circumstances insisted on the value of seeking knowledge, creativity and adventure as basic principles of life, and bootstrapped herself to an independent lifestyle. He was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend WWC, and found there a number of influential mentors who helped him develop the skills and tools for self-actualization. Jesse went on to serve in the U.S. Peace Corps in Romania, which launched a subsequent global career in impact finance and development, but more importantly, where he met and married Marga.

Marga grew up in a working-class family in pre-revolutionary Romania. She bootstrapped herself as a young mother to earn a living for her family, realize her potential as an emerging journalist, and become a successful social entrepreneur. Marga earned her own education as the first college graduate in her family. She has founded and led two high-impact non-profit organizations, in Romania and the US. The organizations have supported tens of thousands of immigrant, refugee and low-income women and their families to pursue their dreams by becoming change agents in their communities, starting up and growing social enterprises and businesses.

Marga and Jesse have worked with passion and determination throughout their careers, and feel incredibly fortunate to have had the support of incredible mentors, friends and communities at critical points in their journey. The importance of these people, in the right moments and roles, cannot be overstated. This is why they are establishing this scholarship - so that others coming from challenging personal backgrounds may also thrive and fully realize their potential.

However, the power of a scholarship endowment such as the ABL is achieved in scale - which is why we need your help. Please join Marga and Jesse in honoring your own story of bootstrapping, or those dear to you who have influenced your life, by contributing matching funds to this key endowment effort.

How can you contribute to the Appalachian Bootstrap Leadership Scholarship?

In this first fundraising year, Marga and Jesse contributed $6,000 of a total $25,000 commitment to the ABL. They are now actively seeking individuals, philanthropic organizations, and companies willing to match this initial contribution on a 1:1 basis, to reach a first-year goal of $12,000 by December 31st, 2018.

Donations of any size are welcome. No gift is too small. All gifts are made to the Warren Wilson College Appalachian Bootstrap Leadership Scholarship, and are fully tax-deductible.

To contact Jesse and Marga with any questions or to share your own bootstrap story, you can mail them at margacfripp@gmail.com or jcfripp72@gmail.com, or connect with them on LinkedIn.

To donate, go to https://www.warren-wilson.edu/giving/givalanche/bootstrap/ and under the section, “Designation” select the Appalachian Bootstrap Leadership Scholarship. Thank you.

If you prefer making a gift by check, write the check to Warren Wilson College, with the designation for Appalachian Bootstrap Leadership Scholarship and mail it to:

WWC CPO 6376, P.O. Box 9000, Asheville, NC 28815

Imperfect Clay

Imperfect Clay