The Shallow Ford Foundation announces three scholarship recipients

Published 12:10 am Thursday, July 1, 2021

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The Shallow Ford Foundation (formerly The Clemmons Community Foundation) announces three scholarship recipients this week.

Julia Grossnickle and Megan Putnam, both graduates of West Forsyth High School, were awarded Thad and Mary Bingham Education Assistance Awards for Graduating Seniors.

Shamonni Graham, from Oak Grove High School, was awarded the Clarence “Big House” Gaines Reynolda Rotary College Assistance Scholarship.

“I want their legacy to live on through their generosity.”

Thad and Mary Bingham were long-time Clemmons residents who loved their community, family and Clemmons United Methodist Church. They generously gave back in a variety of meaningful ways, including the establishment of the Thad and Mary Bingham Fund with the foundation which has supported many community initiatives and programs through grants since it was established. This year, at the recommendation of their daughter, Donna B. Merriman, the Thad & Mary Bingham Fund has made possible scholarship awards for two West Forsyth High School seniors.

“They had a kind and generous heart that never stopped giving,” Merriman said. “You could always count on them. While they were alive, they really didn’t like recognition. As a daughter, I want their legacy to live on through their generosity.”

Julia Grossnickle, Thad and Mary Bingham Education Assistance Award

Julia Grossnickle plans to attend The University of North Carolina at Greensboro to start work towards a career in business and marketing. While a student at West Forsyth High School, she was president and treasurer of the Junior Classical League (Latin Club) and a member of the Interact Service Club. Outside of school, she volunteered with her church, Augsburg Lutheran, and several local non-profit organizations that work to eliminate homelessness in Winston-Salem. She feels a great affinity with Thad and Mary Bingham in this, and she hopes to carry on their spirit of service as a recipient of this award. She shared the following: “Thank you for this amazing opportunity. It is an honor to receive the Thad and Mary Bingham Education Assistance Award … The Binghams’ service to the community is an inspiration, and I look forward to continuing their mission while at UNCG.”

Megan Putnam, Thad and Mary Bingham Education Assistance Award

Megan Putnam will study data science at Northeastern University starting this fall. In her time at West Forsyth High School, she was involved with the History Academic Team, Science Honor Society, Care for Kids Club, Science Academic Team, West Forsyth cross country/track, West Forsyth National Honors Society and was a junior marshal. She has also worked with the Ronald McDonald House Teens with a Heart program, participated in a mission trip to Ashville with Carolina Cross Connection and her church, and volunteered with the Clemmons Food Pantry.

“I’m grateful for the Thad and Mary Bingham Education Assistance Award because it will help me pursue my love of data science,” Putnam said.

“…an incredible basketball coach but also a strong advocate for student education.”  

The Reynolda Rotary College Assistance program honors the life and legacy of Coach Clarence “Big House” Gaines Sr. He led the Winston-Salem State University Rams basketball program for 47 years, compiling an 828-447 record, eight CIAA titles, the 1967 Division II NCAA Championship title, 18 20-win seasons, and an induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Gaines was a pillar of the Winston-Salem community, serving in many professional and civic organizations, including the Reynolda Rotary, where he was a charter member. The program seeks to provide financial assistance to an alum of Cook Elementary School in Winston-Salem who is a graduating high school senior or equivalent or high school graduate who is seeking to return to school.

Michael Clements, chair of the scholarship committee for the Reynolda Rotary, shares,The members of the Reynolda Rotary are proud that we can continue the legacy of Clarence “Big House” Gaines through supporting the education of students at WSSU.  Coach Gaines was not only an incredible basketball coach, but also a strong advocate for student education. The scholarship was created as a tribute to this incredible man.”

Shamonni Graham, Clarence ‘Big House’ Gaines Reynolda Rotary College Assistance Scholarship

Shamonni Graham will attend Winston-Salem State University to pursue her interest in social work. She was active with the Junior Civitan Club and drill team while at Oak Grove High School. She was also a Cook Literacy Model School volunteer, organizing school supplies for elementary school students.

“I am grateful to receive this scholarship. This scholarship will further my education in life as I strive to accomplish my goals, and it will also help further my opportunities in life,” Graham said.

The Shallow Ford Foundation, formerly the Clemmons Community Foundation, facilitates these and other scholarship opportunities for local philanthropists. For more information on the scholarship programs, go to Additional awards from the 2021 opportunities will be announced in the coming weeks.