Stead Family Foundation Supports DSF Through Gala and Named Scholarship

Jerre and Mary Joy Stead

DSF is excited to announce that the 2021 DSF Annual Gala is presented by Stead Family Foundation! Thanks to the foundation’s support, proceeds from the DSF Annual Gala will go directly to supporting thousands of Denver Public Schools’ (DPS) graduates in their journeys to and through college.

The mission of Stead Family Foundation is to invest in the future and help change the world for the better. Stead Family Foundation has been the presenting sponsor of the DSF Annual Gala for two consecutive years, and has been providing a named scholarship gift since 2019. Stead Family Foundation support is possible thanks to the hard work and dedication of Jerre and Mary Joy Stead. The two were raised in Maquoketa, Iowa where they met in 1957. They were married in 1961 and have raised two children. Their life together has been one of incredible achievement and commitment to philanthropy. DSF is grateful for the passion Jerre and Mary Joy have towards advancing education opportunities.

Why is it important for Stead Family Foundation to support DSF Scholars through the Stead Family Scholarship?

Stead Family Foundation believes it is important to provide an opportunity for students to build economic mobility that will affect future generations in their families, as well as the community at large. It is important for the foundation to support students in getting through the next steps in their lives and journeys, which is why we are dedicated to the post-secondary education support that DSF provides through both scholarship and college success.

The Steads believe that DSF’s innovative model can be replicated throughout the country, and wants to engage in that work, which is why it is important for the foundation to support DSF through both named scholarship and gala donations.

Tell us more about the Stead Family Scholarship. What DSF Scholars does the foundation support and why is it important for the foundation to support these students?

The Stead Family Scholarship specifically supprots first-generation college students. It is critical that we provide these Scholars with an opportunity to build economic mobility. First-generation college students are critically important and are a growing population at nearly all institutions of higher education. By providing scholarships and success support to this population of students, we can see real outcomes in persistence rates and success in the workforce.

Stead Family Foundation invests in visionary, innovative programming, which is exactly what DSF is doing for students in Denver. Our investment in DSF provides the opportunity for all students to access and complete higher education, and DSF’s outcomes demonstrate exactly that.

How do Jerre and Mary Joy’s backgrounds connect with the mission of DSF?

Jerre and Mary Joy started dating in high school, married before they turned 19, and worked their way through University of Iowa. Since then, they have moved 23 times and lived all around the world. From the very start of their lives together, they said that if they were able to, they would make major investments into the future for people that may not have the opportunity to access education and help individuals become the very best they can.

Jerre and Mary Joy encourage and support talented people with the right attitude to access education, strive for success, and achieve their dreams. “We are delighted to partner with DSF to encourage local talent and inspire local, talented people to strive for success with the right attitude to achieve their dreams.”

What are some of Jerre and Mary Joy’s favorite college memories?

Some of our favorite college memories include raising two little boys in our two bedroom trailer where we felt so blessed to have a quiet and warm home to study, play, and grow, even with a garden across the street from us. We took the boys to band practices for them to march and sing along, and to the parades to shake hands and meet so many friends and students. They knew we were in college and had to study and write papers. We all knew that education was so important and powerful in our lives and that we also wanted to give back to others to be able to do the same thing to learn and experience great things to help one another along lifes’ journey.

Everyone needs to set goals and follow through on them as they find avenues to reach each goal in different ways and directions. We never knoew who we will meet to further our knowledge and ideas.

What words of wisdom do Jerre and Mary Joy have for future DSF Scholars?

Education is at the core of improving and changing our world. We believe human ingenuity can solve some of the world’s most complex challenges and make it a much better place for everyone. Especially in the situation so many across the world find themselves in, research and education will drive solutions to help equip us to live in a better world. With the right attitude, you can achieve your dreams.

Join us at the 2021 DSF Annual Gala on October 13! Visit our gala webpage to learn more!