In celebration of Pride month, we honor founder of scholarship for LGBTQ youth

In celebration of Pride month, we honor attorney Michael Hamar who created the permanent endowment fund for the George D. and Marion Phelps Hamar HRBOR Scholarship here in 2011. Michael wanted to pay tribute to his parents and also to Hampton Roads Business OutReach (HRBOR). Michael co-founded HRBOR in 2007 as our region's LGBTQ business chamber.

Michael started the scholarship in 2011 shortly after his mom, a retired cytology technician at Portsmouth Naval Hospital, passed away. His dad, a retired stockbroker from Virginia Beach, died in 2006. To honor both his parents and also HRBOR, Michael donated to start the endowed scholarship fund at the community foundation.

He set the selection criteria to be for self-identifying lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender students from Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk or Virginia Beach. Scholarship recipients have demonstrated involvement in the LGBT community and need financial aid for undergraduate education at a four-year college or university.

Michael says people regularly tell him they dream of starting their own scholarship funds. "I always give them the community foundation's name," he says, noting that many people do not know all that is involved in properly starting and managing scholarship funds.

The Hamar HRBOR Scholarship is among nearly 90 scholarship funds administered by the community foundation.

Christian Strange and Dakota Puentes

Our newest scholarship recipient Dakota Puentes, who lives in Chesapeake and graduated from Deep Creek High School, will be a freshman at North Carolina State University with dreams of becoming a veterinarian. She’s pictured here with HRBOR President Christian Strange.

“This scholarship will help alleviate some of the stress that paying for college brings to me and my family. It also makes me feel welcomed by the Hampton Roads Community to know that people are willing to help support me on my path to a higher education.”

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