a legacy of serving and leading change

a legacy of serving and leading change

Awards, Scholarships & Training

Awards, Scholarships & Training

Through college scholarships, awards and changemaker training, the Sullivan Foundation has been inspiring young people to ignite the good and place service to others above self-interest since 1934.

Working through our network of partner schools throughout the American South, we honor, support and educate college students, faculty and staff, and alumni with a demonstrated record of community involvement.

Awards

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan and Mary Mildred Sullivan Awards

Since 1890, these awards have been presented to college students, faculty, staff and civic leaders who have distinguished themselves through service to others and their communities.

Scholarships

Sullivan Endowments at Partner Schools

The Sullivan Foundation was established in 1934 and began awarding service-based scholarships to deserving students while establishing endowments at certain schools within its network. Today, we have more than 30 schools with dedicated Sullivan endowments which are used to fund deserving students to participate in our programming and receive scholarships for reduced tuition.

Training

Ignite Retreat

In 2008, the Sullivan Foundation expanded its mission to focus on fostering positive change and community development through social entrepreneurship and creative changemaking. Our flagship programming began with the Ignite Retreat, which is currently hosted twice per year.

Changemaking Programming

Over the years, the Foundation has become known for designing experiential programming that supports emerging leaders, including field trips, study abroad adventures, virtual masterclasses, and coaching cohorts. Alumni have gone on to create a wide range of organizations that address social problems in their communities.

Sullivan Fellows

In 2022, the Foundation created the Sullivan Fellows program which is a 3-year cohort-based fellowship for rising sophomores who receive scholarships, training, and ongoing guidance from Sullivan mentors. The program is funded through endowments at our partner schools.

“It’s not so much what we have in this life that matters. It’s what we do with what we have.”

Fred Rogers (aka Mister Rogers), 2001 Sullivan Award Winner
Rollins College Alumni

“It’s not so much what we have in this life that matters. It’s what we do with what we have.”

Fred Rogers (aka Mister Rogers), 2001 Sullivan Award Winner
Rollins College Alumni

Meet our Team

Meet our Team

Steve McDavid

President

Oxford, MS

Caroline Burlingame

Director of Operations

Oxford, MS

Courtney Carolton

Alumni Engagement

Oxford, MS

Spud Marshall

Student Engagement

State College, PA

Jody Holland

Faculty Engagement

Oxford, MS

Reagan Pugh

Student & Faculty Support

Austin, TX

Brandi Jordan

Director of Communications

Full-Time Nomad

Contact Us

Join the Conversation

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Andrea Crouch

Lookout Mountain, GA

David Ferrand

Summit, NJ

John Hardy

Oxford, MS

Steve McDavid

Oxford, MS

Thomas Rankin

Durham, NC

Peter Rooney

Atlanta, GA

Perry Wilson

Franklin, TN

Elizabeth “Betsy” Verner

Atlanta, GA

Kathy Potts

Jackson, MS

Elizabeth Randall

Oxford, MS

Stacey Spiller

Rome, GA

Christopher Gergen

Durham, NC

Gary William Jr.

Chappaqua, NY

Trustee Emeritus

Darla Wilkinson

Mendham, NJ

Trustee Emeritus

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Eleanor Roosevelt, Sullivan Award Winner
First Lady of the United States

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Eleanor Roosevelt, Sullivan Award Winner
First Lady of the United States

A Legacy of Service, Courage and Character

A Legacy of Service, Courage and Character

Established in honor of a celebrated 19th-century humanitarian and attorney who often represented poor clients for free if their cause was just, the Sullivan Foundation has been recognizing college students for service and outstanding character since 1890.

1850’s

The Early Years

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation was founded in 1934, but its roots go back nearly 80 years earlier, when Algernon Sydney Sullivan himself was a young lawyer in Indiana.

He used his legal talents and personal wealth to help those in trouble in his community, sometimes at great personal cost.

1856

The Move to New York

When Algernon and his wife Mary Mildred Sullivan moved to New York in 1856, they remained dedicated to the cause of helping people in trouble.

Both of the Sullivans were decidedly anti-slavery, but they cared about the South and advocated for the humane treatment of Confederate prisoners during and after the Civil War. A believer in equality for all, Algernon also sponsored the first African-American member of the New York Bar Association.

1887

A Lasting Legacy

Algernon founded the law firm Sullivan and Cromwell, which eventually grew into an international firm and is still highly respected today. He built a reputation for taking on clients who could pay him little or nothing when he believed their cause was just.

By the end of his life, Algernon was so respected that all courts in New York were closed in his memory upon his death in 1887. He remains the last private citizen to receive such an honor.

1890

Honorable Life and Death

The honor that Algernon would have appreciated the most, however, was the one he received when the New York Southern Society—an organization he himself founded—established the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in 1890, just a few years after his death by pneumonia in 1887.

The award was created to recognize college students in the South for “excellence of character and service to humanity.”

1934

Establishment of the Sullivan Foundation

Algernon and Mary’s only son, George, continued and cemented the Sullivans’ legacy when, in 1934, he created the Sullivan Foundation to ensure the continued existence of the awards.

The Foundation remains as strong as ever today and has grown to expand the reach of the Sullivan spirit far beyond what Algernon and Mary would have ever thought possible.