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The David Reznick Foundation Awards Seven New Academic Scholarships

Furthering DRF's mission of nurturing the next generation of affordable housing leaders, awards went to students at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy; the University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation program for graduate studies; and the University of Baltimore August 2022 - Recognizing that the affordable housing leaders of the future will require a good education and support to help them fulfill their potential and move forward, the David Reznick Foundation (DRF) announced the funding of seven scholarships for deserving students pursuing studies in related fields.


University of Maryland School of Public Policy


DRF provided four grants to the University of Maryland School of Public Policy.

First, DRF provided a grant to fund a public policy graduate student scholarship at the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation Colvin Real Estate program in David’s honor. This scholarship was awarded to Sophia Shepard (pictured left).


Sophia, an out of state student at the University of Maryland, said, “This award has directly allowed me to take courses that I am passionate about. I have just completed a course about discriminatory housing policies and public housing in America, which helped further my knowledge and show me how interested I am in following a career path in the field of housing policy. Thank you so much for the award and allowing me to have many more opportunities because of it.”

The second University of Maryland award went to Mira Morgan (pictured right), who is working towards her B.A. in Public Policy (2022) and a Master of Public Policy (2023). After being selected to participate in the Scholars Program, Mira began her summer internship with the National Housing Trust.


In her role as a Policy Intern, Mira studies states’ qualified allocation plans, which are policy documents that detail how states allocate low-income housing tax credits. She analyzes how elements of these documents can promote and achieve racial equity.


“I am immensely grateful to be a scholarship recipient of the Reznick Foundation,” Mira said. “In my career, I aspire to engage in affordable housing policy and advance racial equity in housing in the United States. I believe that our nation must address disparities and shortcomings in housing accessibility and affordability before we can truly achieve racial equity and dismantle systemic racism. An internship with the National Housing Trust aligns perfectly with my career goals. This internship allows me to utilize my background in racial equity work and gain career-relevant experience in housing policy. I would not have been able to take advantage of this great internship opportunity if it were not for the Reznick Foundation’s scholarship.”

Sama Eldadah (pictured left) is pursuing her B.A. in Public Policy (2022) and a Master of Public Policy (2023) at the University of Maryland. As part of her Community Action Project as a Rawlings Undergraduate Leadership Fellow, she has been developing plans and partnerships for a housing-focused advocacy event in2022 with the College Park City Council. Currently, the Council is developing plans to launch a community land trust to increase homeownership of owner-occupied properties. Her goal is to navigate the logistics of possible student ownership of houses in College Park.


In her free time, Sama volunteers with The Shift, an organization focused on the right to housing that is directed by the former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing Leilani Farha. She also has recently assumed a position as a volunteer community organizer for the housing-focused political campaign of UMD alumnus Raymond Nevo ’20.


“I have just reached the point in my development as an advocate in which initial investments of strategic volunteer time at The Shift and Raymond Nevo’s campaign would create access to opportunities with an even bigger impact,” Sama said. “I am deeply grateful to be a Reznick Foundation scholarship recipient. The award will allow me to give myself fully to my current volunteer commitments without worrying about the financial burden of my education.”

Sawa Kamara (pictured right) is working toward her B.A. in Public Policy at the University of Maryland. Born in Sierra Leone, Sawa immigrated to the United States as a child in 1999 in the aftermath of Sierra Leone’s civil war, leaving behind her family for the opportunity for a better life. In the United States, she traveled to live with extended family that had settled just outside of Washington, D.C., and she established her life in Takoma Park, MD.

Sawa’s passion for advocacy and inclusiveness comes from her perspective as an immigrant and proud new United States citizen, and from her experience advocating for her family’s and community’s rights in their apartment complex. After growing increasingly frustrated seeing her and neighbor’s complaints for safety violations go unanswered by the building owners, she became a self-taught advocate. Researching housing policy and working with her city delegation to build a case against the property owner, she then spearheaded a community movement that won a class action lawsuit against the building owner for numerous health and safety violations. Sawa’s determination in advocating for her community’s rights to safe housing was so inspirational to her neighbors that they honored her by naming a street Sawa’s Hope Circle.


“​​I am incredibly grateful to have been chosen as a David Reznick award recipient. I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for this great grant, which will enable me to continue my studies in public policy, with an emphasis on housing policy. You have relieved my financial burden by providing me this scholarship, allowing me to concentrate more on the most vital component of school, learning. I understand the value of giving back to the community, so please accept my heartfelt gratitude once more.”


University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation


DRF provided two grants to the University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, which is commonly referred to as the “Maryland Real Estate Department Program.”

Bethlehem Getachew Wolde (pictured left) was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She is currently a second-year graduate student enrolled in the Master of Real Estate Development program at the University of Maryland. She has always been intrigued by the immense influence of housing on the growth of communities. After graduation, she would like to strengthen my skills and gain experience in affordable housing development projects. Overall, she aspires to transition into an affordable housing developer in Sub-Saharan Africa. Asked about the Reznick foundation grant, Bethlehem responded: “I am sincerely honored to be awarded the Reznick Foundation Scholarship. Your generous support motivates me to continue achieving my educational and career goals of being an affordable housing developer that will have a substantial contribution in the field. Thank you so much for your support. “

Ridhima Sabharwal (pictured right) is a 26-year-old architect, currently enrolled in Master of Real Estate Development program at the University of Maryland. She practiced architecture for three years in India, initially with an architecture firm, followed by a small-scale housing developer. She has been the lead architect for two residential projects and assisted as a junior architect on a handful of them.


“I am thrilled to have been chosen to receive the honor, and I deeply appreciate this support,” Ridhima said. “I am an international graduate enrolled in the program as recently as August 2021 and it has been overwhelming. I hope to learn and grasp as much of the field of real estate development through the medium of this program and pursue a career in it. I look forward to integrating my passion for both architecture and real estate development. The financial assistance awarded by you will be of immense help to me in paying my educational expenses and has undoubtedly helped me unload some distress. I would like to thank you again for your generosity and support towards my education. I assure you to make the most out of this opportunity, and someday aspire to give back to other students as well.”

University of Baltimore

DRF awarded the Mark J. Einstein Scholarship to Ingrid Nicolau (pictured left), a student majoring in Business Administration and Real Estate and Economic Development at the University of Baltimore.


Ingrid is a 56-year-old woman with Latin American mixed heritage who came to the United States 24 years ago, learned English as a second language and received her AA degree at that time. She writes, “Now as an American citizen with a dual career working for Frederick County Government, I decided to come back to school and finish the degree that for so long overdue.” She adds, “My interest is to promote affordable housing and economic development…. Yet, it is not only the coming back to school that is meaningful for me. It is also the opportunity to show fellow Hispanic-middle-aged women that ‘yes, we can’ and to show younger generations that time does not stop to wait for you and ‘the now’ is important to sustain your future. It means so much to me that there is help out there to support the realization of your dreams.”


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“On behalf of the DRF board, we want to congratulate all of these worthy scholarship recipients,” said DRF board member, Michael Bodaken. “We cannot wait to see the remarkable things they will undoubtedly go on to do, to help continue David Reznick’s legacy and further the critical cause of affordable housing.”


ABOUT THE DAVID REZNICK FOUNDATION

The David Reznick Foundation is a tribute to David's major contributions to affordable housing and community development. We honor his legacy by nurturing growing communities and mentoring the housing leaders of tomorrow.

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