|“The mission of the Southern Scholarship Foundation is to help deserving young people who lack financial resources, but demonstrate excellent academic merit and moral character, attend institutions of higher education.” - SSF Web site|
|This mission is what the founders of SSF had in mind in 1953.
SSF began in Tallahassee at Florida State University by the late Dean of the College of Education Dr. Mode L. Stone. He was troubled that many bright high school students did not attend college because their families could not afford the combined costs of tuition, books and housing. He began to conceive a plan to provide rent-free housing for deserving students to aid them in attending college.
Stone partnered with FSU professors Dr. Sam T. Lastinger, Dr. Marion Hay and Dr. Hazen Curtis, along with former Dean of Education Ralpf Eyman and attorney J. Velma Keen to put his idea into action. The first SSF housing was in an abandoned Army barracks near the Tallahassee Regional Airport.
In April of 1955, SSF was officially incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation. Since its creation, SSF has operated solely on donations from sponsors. As donations increased, SSF was able to purchase its first house called the CLO House. Throughout the years, the organization has steadily grown to include a variety of college campuses across Florida.
The Florida Chapter of the Pilot club helped to spread SSF to Gainesville when they purchased a three-story house on 8th Avenue in 1980. Eventually, they built an additional house next door on 12 Street which was named after the Pilot Club; the former “Pilot House” was renamed the Badcock Scholarship House. The Rotary House was added in 1988. By 1999, when the two Hawskley houses were donated, the number of SSF houses at UF had grown to eight.
Currently, SSF operates 13 houses at FSU, three at FAMU, eight at UF, one at Bethune-Cookman and one at Florida Gulf Coast for a total of 26 houses. To date, SSF has helped more than 7,000 students through the scholarship housing.
The annual budget is approximately $750,000-all donations from individuals, civic groups, corporations, alumni and other charities.