Reverend Cornelius “Father Connie” Dougherty was only 47 years old when he passed away from cancer in 1975. Just weeks earlier he had been honored during a Riverview High School football game, an evening that would forever be remembered as “Father Connie Night.” Before his passing, with his own personal check in hand, Father Connie created a scholarship fund in 1975 to award students in Sarasota County with opportunities to further their education, be it at college, university, or an institution of higher learning.
Upon his passing, the fruit of Father Connie’s service became tangible, as an outpouring of community support grew the fund exponentially. This legacy of community love still lives on today through the Father Connie Dougherty Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Within every Father Connie Kid beats the heart of a servant. Grounded in humility and guided by a dedication to community, students like Tammi who are touched by Father Connie’s legacy embody his joy of life and all its possibilities to inspire and share love with others. These qualities, along with a well-rounded application, are what volunteers on the scholarship review committee look for in their award-winning applicants: the essence of a man ordained into the priesthood with a heart expansive enough to encompass an entire community.
As the committee often says, those students selected to become a Father Connie Kid are worth the investment, but there is also a meaningful return: you must do something with the gift you’ve been given. You must give back to your community, wherever you may call home.
Since 1998, the Father Connie Dougherty Memorial Scholarship has called the Community Foundation of Sarasota County its home and since then has awarded 200 “Father Connie Kids” with scholarships totaling more than $800,700. Thanks to the generosity of our community, the Father Dougherty Memorial Scholarship continues to recognize students who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to pursue their academic goals and dreams, and you too can be part of this legacy.
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Father Connie Dougherty Memorial Scholarship Fund
Established to memorialize a local Catholic priest, this fund provides scholarships for youth of both public and private Sarasota County schools. Selection is based on a student's academic performance, financial need and concern for others.