Women's Club of Great Falls Scholarship Fund

Quarterly Newsletter

Winter 2022
Happy New Year from all of us at the Scholarship Fund!

In this Winter issue we are excited to share with you our revamped Save the Date Card for HAVANA NIGHT!  This event has become our signature fundraising event for the year.  Get ready to join us Saturday April 23 at River Bend Country Club outside on the South Terrace.  Our Annual Tea event has been moved to Sunday, October 23 and will focus primarily on gathering together to honor our scholarship recipients and accommodate the calendar changes in our sister organization, The Women's Club of Great Falls, whose support has been near and dear to us over the years.  Our Tea will occur annually every October in the years ahead, leaving the Spring Season for our fundraiser.

All of us on the SF Board of Directors have been working diligently these past six months on Havana Night and we cannot wait to announce our lineup of Live Auction Packages!  Stay tuned!  It is going to be an exciting, fast paced and high energy night!  Please keep your calendars marked for April 23rd and get ready to join us for a fabulous fun night with us!!  

On our progamming side, we have been busy this Fall on awarding our 2021 - 2022 academic scholarships. In addition to the nine scholarships we granted over the Summer and announced in our Fall Newsletter, our Endowment at George Mason University just awarded scholarships to four additional students. This brings our total number of students for the academic year to a record thirteen.  We are incredibly proud of each and every one of them.  Please see below for highlights from some of their stories.

Finally, we are INCREDIBLY honored and proud to announce that the Holly Ann Kuga Scholarship Fund is now slated to be endowed at George Mason University, having reached a total of $34,000 in contributions.  This is the single largest amount of money ever granted to a Scholarship Fund Endowment in someone's name.  All of us on the Board thank the friends and family of Holly Kuga and are gratified that her memory will live in perpetuity.

Stay tuned for more information about our Havana Night! We would love to have your support once again.  If you are interested in becoming a Sponsor or joining our Event Planning Committee, please let us know.  Contact us anytime at

Warmest wishes for a fabulous new year ahead!

The Scholarship Fund Board of Directors

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Planned Giving

If you missed the recent All Club Meeting for the Women's Club, or if you are not a Club member and are interested in planning for the future, the Relational Estate Planning seminar presented by Joshua E. Hummer, Esq, was indeed thought provoking. Feel free to share.

See the video on YouTube

The Planned Giving overview made us think that we should mention in our newsletter that we NOW have a Planned Giving option for the Scholarship Fund. 

Holly Kuga's untimely passing made us realize in hard terms the fragility of life.  As the sister organization to the Club we wanted to honor her in creating the Holly Kuga Scholarship Fund which has been supported by club members, family and friends to ensure her legacy continues.

We knew she believed in supporting education, LOVED her home in Great Falls, where she watched her daughter grow up and go through the Langley school system. She enjoyed so many activities where she could explore some of her passions through the club, and formed so many friendships.
If you are thinking about estate planning and would like to leave a legacy in your name, or in memory of a family member, to help a student in Northern Virginia with their education, we have worked with our Attorney to create a scholarship package.  We are also open to creating custom endowments if a certain threshold is met. Please email us anytime for more information, or if would like to be contacted to discuss further at

Highlights from our
2021 - 22 General
Scholarship Awardees

Kellie Rae Arduini

Sumita Chopra

Shahrzad Maftoun

In addition to the 4 scholarships coming from the GMU Endowment, the Scholarship Fund awarded 9 general scholarships from our Fund at United Bank for the upcoming academic year. 

In this newsletter, we want to recognize our awardees by sharing some of their stories. These are three women working to purse their dream of higher education while also taking care of their families – an accomplishment that has always remained at the heart of our mission.

Kellie Rae Arduini

Kelli started her college career playing field hockey at Christopher Newport University and later moved to NC State where she was pursuing her dream to become a veterinarian. While at NC State, life was forever changed when she was seriously injured in a head-on collision by a drunk driver. Because of her injuries, she struggled to focus and was unable to finish college a few courses shy of graduating.

Six years later, Kelli became a single mom and realized she needed to finish college for her and her son. She enrolled in online school and finished her degrees (Philosophy and Psychology) during COVID as a stay-at-home mom. She is now pursuing an associate’s degree in engineering at Northern Virginia Community College while working at the Naval Surface Warfare Center. The scholarship provided by the GFSF is helping this single mom broaden her skillset, advance her career, and contribute to the Department of Defense in overall research, development, and implementation.  

Sumita Chopra

Sumita studied in India completing a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication, and then worked as lecturer for undergraduate and graduate students. About 6 years into her teaching career, she got married and moved to the United States. Sumita began to teach as a substitute teacher in special education and recently took a full time position as teacher assistant in an adapted special education class.

She is enrolled in the Special Education-General Curriculum at George Mason University to further her career to become a special education teacher and become financially independent.  She wrote to us that the scholarship provided by the Scholarship Fund is helping this working single mom reach her goals.

Shahrzad Maftoun

Shahrzad started her academic career in Iran with a bachelor’s degree is mathematics and then worked as an educational expert, math tutor, and high school teacher. She immigrated to the US in 2013 with her husband to have a better life including freedom for women. She found it hard to find a similar teaching position in the US, so after her son was born in 2018 she attended NOVA to study information technology and recently transferred to George Mason University.

Things have gotten very hard for Shahrzah this year. Her mother passed away, and her husband has become sick with lymphoma and because of the chemo he is disabled and cannot work, worsening their financial situation.  Shahrzad has been able to get some loans to continue her education, but additional help is needed such as the award from the GFSF to keep her in school.  Her goal is to quickly finish school, find a job in information technology, and support her family financially.

Event Planning Commitee
November 2021

What a beautiful fall evening we had holding a cocktail reception to recruit some volunteers to help assist with our main fundraising events this spring. It was crisp, but the fire pit and beautiful sunset were perfect as we discussed the many roles volunteers could help fill in preparation for the events.  Attendees learned about our initial plans for the Havana Night and Spring Tea and how they could help. With so many women so passionate about the opportunity higher education brings, we look forward to making an even bigger impact helping more students succeed on this journey. 


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Thank you so much again for your continued support!

Best wishes,

Scholarship Fund Board of Directors
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