Broadwells, HomeTrust Bank establish scholarship to assist WNC students

Ed and Donna Broadwell and HomeTrust Bank are donors of a new scholarship program for students hailing from Western North Carolina.

Ed and Donna Broadwell and HomeTrust Bank are donors of a new scholarship program for students hailing from Western North Carolina.

A recently retired banking executive and the financial institution where he served as chief executive officer for more than 48 years have joined forces in an effort to provide scholarship assistance to deserving graduates of public high schools in Western North Carolina who want to attend Western Carolina University.

Through matching gifts totaling $110,000, Ed Broadwell, wife Donna and HomeTrust Bank recently established a new scholarship program that is designed to provide financial support to WNC students in “the middle” – in other words, those whose parents earn too much money to receive grants yet still struggle to pay the full cost of educational expenses.

The Ed and Donna Broadwell-HomeTrust Bank Scholarship Fund will award a $5,000 scholarship to a WCU undergraduate student who is a graduate of a WNC public high school.

Colleagues at HomeTrust initiated the scholarship fund to honor Broadwell’s decades of service to the bank. He stepped down from the bank’s board of directors in November 2014, and retired as chairman and chief executive officer in December 2013.

Vice chair of WCU’s Board of Trustees, Broadwell and his wife decided to match the bank’s contributions in order to create a fund that would provide significant scholarship support for students from WNC.

The Broadwells were motivated by the March 2012 installation address of Chancellor David O. Belcher, who identified raising funds for endowed scholarships as the top philanthropic priority for WCU, said Jim Miller, associate vice chancellor for development and alumni affairs.

In the 2014 fall semester, WCU students from the eight westernmost counties of North Carolina – Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Swain and Transylvania – had more than $2 million in educational expense needs unmet by available grants, Miller said.

“Ed, Donna and their friends at HomeTrust Bank have stepped forward to help keep a WCU education in reach for students who might not otherwise be able to afford it,” he said. “We thank them for their generosity and for making a difference in the lives of students from the mountain region.”

Beginning with the fall 2016 semester, the Ed and Donna Broadwell-HomeTrust Bank Scholarship Fund will award a $5,000 scholarship annually to a graduate of a public high school in North Carolina west of the Eastern Continental Divide. Preference will be given to residents of Buncombe, Haywood and Henderson counties, the original footprint of HomeTrust Bank. Awards will be based on both financial need and academic merit.

“We are committed to the young folks of our WNC region and will continue to increase the scholarship fund in the years ahead,” Ed Broadwell said. “Western Carolina students from the mountains have a huge unmet financial need, and we want to help our own citizens reach their dreams through an affordable education. Our personal educations have been crucial in our career successes, and we are trying to give back or pay it forward to help meet our region’s education needs.”

Broadwell joined HomeTrust Bank (formerly Clyde Savings Bank) in 1965 as president and chief executive officer. He served as chairman of the bank’s board of directors from 2002 to 2013. A member of the WCU Board of Trustees since 2009, he previously served on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.

The Ed and Donna Broadwell-HomeTrust Bank Scholarship is among the more than 100 new scholarship funds established at WCU since March 2012.

For more information about supporting or creating a scholarship, contact the WCU Office of Development at 828-227-7124 or visit the website give.wcu.edu.