About The Jessie Mae Ford Legacy Scholarship


Grandparents are one of children’s greatest treasures. They are a wealth of wisdom and stories, and a living connection to history. Grandmas and Grandpas infuse today’s youth with recognition that they are part of something bigger than themselves, something that has and will continue to stretch across time and generations.


Particularly in our urban communities, many grandparents have also volunteered to take on even more essential roles as they have returned to parenting in order to care for their children’s children. The Jessie Mae Ford Legacy Scholarship recognizes the contribution that our elder generation has made into shaping our children into young men and women of character, responsibility, and distinction.


The Jessie Mae Ford Legacy Scholarship offers an opportunity for each high school senior to reflect upon how an elder has helped to shape them into the person they are today. A goal of the scholarship is to support and accelerate the investment elders’ have made into our young people. Most importantly, the scholarship serves as a forum for our young people to recognize and appreciate the rare treasure of their grandparents and elder members of their community and the impact that these elders have had upon their lives.


About Mrs. Jessie Mae Ford


I am pleased to provide this scholarship in memory of my grandmother, Jessie Mae Ford.


My grandmother became my sole parent after my mother passed away when I was very young. While my grandmother saw the importance of reading, writing, and arithmetic, her gift to me was a different set of 3 R’s: Resourcefulness, Relationships, and Resilience. With this inheritance as a foundation, reading, writing, and arithmetic were just the beginning of what could be accomplished.


My grandmother’s resourcefulness demonstrated that a person’s wealth is not determined by how much they have, but by how effectively they use, retain, and grow what they have. The care I saw her pour into her cultivation of relationships now blossoms in my long term friendships. While grandma’s life was far from easy, her amazing resilience always allowed her to rebound from any setback. Her ability to adapt, focus through challenges, and find a way through is the seed of any acumen I have today.


There is so much for which I would love to thank my grandmother. After she passed away, I recognized that the best thing that I could do for her was to share her story. Through this scholarship program, I hope that many other stories of joy, gratitude, and inspiration will also have the chance to be shared.


About Jill Ford


Jill Ford is a Corporate Negotiations Executive in the San Francisco Bay Area and a proud graduate of New Brunswick High School’s Class of 1993.


Jill’s extensive experience in Business Development and Corporate Strategy includes her award winning work with Microsoft, Disney, and Motorola and her leadership of international business accelerating early stage companies in emerging countries such as Ghana. Globally spearheading corporate relationships with game publishers such as Electronic Arts and OEMs such as Samsung, Jill has directed the inclusion of games on mobile devices worldwide and guided the game play experiences of over 100 million consumers. Jill has introduced revenue sharing and profit driving business models into major corporations, eliminating millions of dollars of costs and replacing these with incoming revenue.


Jill has a technical background from work as a Technology Consultant and Architect for Trilogy as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Harvard University. Jill extended her education into Finance and Entrepreneurial Management with an MBA from The Wharton School of Business. When Jill is not negotiating corporate joint ventures or advising entrepreneurs, she enjoys karaoke, swing dancing, and being an aunt to her four teenage nephews.  Jill embraces global citizenship and has traveled to more than a dozen countries, starting with her first international trip to Japan as a member of the 1991 Sister Cities Delegation from New Brunswick High School.


Of course, most cherished amongst Jill’s titles is the one she has always had: Jessie Mae’s granddaughter.




The Jessie Mae Ford Legacy Scholarship is open to all college bound high school seniors attending New Brunswick Public Schools.


Application Process


To apply for the Jessie Mae Ford Legacy Scholarship, each student should submit an answer to the following question along with NBEF Scholarship Application and other required documents.


How has a grandparent or elder member of your family or community helped to shape you into the person you are, and what have you learned from this person?


Submission Requirements


Answers to this question can be submitted in any form (e.g. essay, audio or video presentation, etc.). There is no restriction upon the length of the submission. We expect that many submissions will be in essay form and less than 1500 words.


The elder member of the student’s family or community discussed in the student’s application may be currently living or deceased. For the purposes of this application, a person is considered an elder if he/she is either a) separated from the student by more than 1 generation and/or b) older than 60 years of age.


Deadline To Submit Applications


The NBEF application and documents (i.e. transcript; letters of recommendation, etc.) along with your response to the Scholarship’s question regarding your grandparent or elder member of your family or community (via essay, audio or video presentation) must be completed and submitted by Monday, May 2, 2016.


Scholarship Award Part 1

The award for the Jessie Mae Ford Legacy Foundation includes two components.



The award will provide up to $5,000 to one selected student. The funds for this award will be disbursed to the college or university that the student will attend at a rate of $1,250 per year during each of the four years 2016 – 2020, provided that the student continues his or her education at an accredited college or university. If the selected student discontinues matriculation in any of these four years, the student will forfeit the remainder of this scholarship award.



Additionally, the award will include up to $100 to be provided after the recipient has received notification about their selection for this scholarship. This $100 is to be used fully and immediately for an event, product, or service of the student’s choosing that will serve as a reflection of gratitude for the elder person described in the selected student’s essay.



The student is to provide a note to the NBEF describing the chosen event, product, or service and a photo of the selected student and the elder described in the application enjoying this event, product, or service together. This provides an excellent opportunity, for example, for a student to take a grandparent out to dinner as a show of gratitude.


Scholarship Award Part 2


The recipient of the Jessie Mae Ford Legacy Scholarship will be recognized at NBEF’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration on Friday, June 17, 2016 at The Pines Manor, 2085 Route 27 in Edison, NJ. The actual scholarship award, with a written designation for use, will be forwarded on behalf of the recipient directly to the college or university that he/she will attend.




For all inquiries regarding the Jessie Mae Legacy Scholarship, kindly contact the NBEF office via email at: