The value of a helping hand
Darrian Sweatt, center, is the 2017 recipient of the Allen Scholarship. From left: Darrian’s step-father, Alvin Nolette; Clint Allen; Darrian’s mother, Brandy Pierce; and Lawson Allen.
Lawson and Clint Allen know that a little help goes a long way.
Deeply connected to Essex and the Crater Club, Lawson’s family has been visiting since 1903. Now, through the Allen Scholarship and Education Program and the Essex Community
Fund, they’re making a difference in the community—especially in the lives of young students.
A graduate of Harvard, Clint grew up in a family of modest means in the blue collar city of Brockton, MA. His parents never went to college, and when it came time for him to apply, his
plan was to go to one of the 72 Division I schools that offered him a football scholarship. But Clint was a strong student, and a local policeman, Paul, told him: “You’re better than these
schools. You could go to Harvard.”
There was also Pete, a high school football coach who worked as a part-time custodian to make ends meet. When Clint had trouble completing his application to Harvard, Pete gave him a helping hand and made sure his application was submitted.
“People like Paul, Pete—they told me not to sell myself short,” Clint said. “I had a lot of helping hands along the way, and I always said to myself, ‘One day, I’m going to give it back. Pay
it forward.’ Now I’m able to do that.”
Lawson, Clint’s wife, spent her entire career in education, working as a school teacher, in social work, and as a school counselor.
“Education is where our hearts are, and it’s the focus of our philanthropy,” Lawson said. “Being a part of this community, we learned that students in Essex and Willsboro need real financial help to get to college. And we learned that the impact of our generosity here in the Adirondacks goes a lot farther than it does in many other places. A few thousand dollars can make or break a kid’s ability to go to college.”
The Allen Scholarship is awarded to graduating high school seniors from the towns of Essex and Willsboro. Since being established in 2013, it has grown to award $5,000 a year for each student; the fund is currently supporting five students. Students attending accredited two- or four-year colleges, universities, and trade or technical schools are eligible. The Allens have linked eligibility for the scholarship to participation in the College for Every Student program, which is based in Essex and whose mission lines up with the intention of their scholarship.
“This scholarship is a huge honor that means a lot to me. It will help me a great deal as I take on the nursing program at Colby-Sawyer College. A big thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Allen.”—Darrian Sweatt, 2017 Allen Scholarship recipient
The Allens, who also fund two scholarships at Harvard, recently expanded the fund to support other educational programming.
“We love working with Adirondack Foundation,” said Clint, who spent his career working in finance. “The stewardship of this fund has helped it grow to what it is today.”
“I love the focus of Adirondack Foundation,” Lawson added, “especially the work for kids and families—we’re happy that our fund is a part of it. The impact of our generosity here in the Adirondacks goes a lot farther than it does in many other places.”