Regional Scholarships: A New Way to Give Back

by | Jul 18, 2022 | FEATURED STORIES

Early in 2022, two Hudson Valley-based SEPs, Cheryl Qamar and Doree Lipson, came to the Business Development & Fundraising team with an idea: a regional scholarship for Black, Indigenous, People of Color SE students living in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.  

The scholarship is now called the Tri-State Black, Indigenous, People of Color Scholarship, and it’s the first of its kind: a region-specific scholarship fund for students looking to study SE and become SEPs to give back to their communities.

“Without question, the pandemic has impacted the severity of trauma and mental health issues for all but particularly for marginalized communities already struggling with ongoing racialized trauma.  After witnessing the striking healthcare disparities in my community, I was moved to do something to address access and support to SE training for BIPOC providers. The need for healers will continue to grow for some time. This is one thing I can do and we can do as a community to ensure access and inclusion.”

– Cheryl Qamar, SEP

To collect donations, SEI developed a campaign page geared towards SEPs and other community members in the tri-state area, which launched in June. The campaign page features a dynamic donation thermometer, tiered giving levels, and a donor wall where donors can share their reasons for giving and their connection to the scholarship.

 In the first month of the campaign, over 30 donors have already raised $5,000 for this important cause!

“I donated to the Tri-State BIPOC scholarship fund because I believe so strongly in SE that I wanted to support people of all colors and financial status to be able to learn SE and bring it back to their diverse communities. SE has had the biggest, and most effective, impact on my clinical work with clients in the thirty years I’ve been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.”

– Cindy Dern, donor to the Tri-State Black, Indigenous, People of Color Scholarship

We aim to raise $20,000 in the first year of this campaign, which would fully sponsor two BIPOC students from the tri-state area to pursue their SEPs in a market of their choosing. SEI will continue to fundraise for this scholarship fund throughout 2022, with the goal of awarding the first set of scholarships in early 2023.

In addition to creating an online space for donors and supporters, sending out calls to action and updates to SEPs in the tri-state area, and managing received funding, SEI will also be launching a fundraising event with our local organizers to rally the community around this essential cause. SEI is also pursuing partnerships with local businesses and foundations who believe in promoting equitable, trauma-informed mental health spaces in their communities.

If you’d like to support BIPOC SE students in the tri-state area, please visit traumahealing.org/tristatebipoc.

This is the first of hopefully many scholarships making a direct impact on the lives of SE students in a particular community. Currently, the Business Development and Fundraising department is implementing additional scholarship funds with organizers both in the United States and internationally. Paul Beverly, Director of Business Development & Fundraising at SEI, had this to say about this new scholarship initiative:

“The beautiful thing about regional scholarships is that your giving directly impacts Somatic Experiencing in your own backyard. Each gift made is restricted to the region it is being given toward and will only be used to further the purposes of providing a scholarship for someone in your community.

“By donating locally, you’re aiding in the healing of others within your community. More trained Somatic Experiencing Practitioners in your region creates more opportunities for others in your area to access the support they need. And most importantly, you’re forming bonds with others in your area who share the same passion for healing trauma as you do.”


SEI is thrilled to be opening doors for BIPOC students across the country through local scholarships, but to make the greatest impact, we need you. We need your passion for helping others, your connections to your community, and your vision for change in your region. 

If you’d like to make an impact for BIPOC SE students in your community, please send the Business Development & Fundraising team an email at charitablecontributions@traumahealing.org: we’d love to work with you to create a campaign which celebrates and opens doors for healing and helping professionals in your life!