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The Atkins Educational Foundation aims to provide financial and personal support for first-generation college students.


At Atkins EF, we believe the best way to help students succeed is to remove the barriers that make college inaccessible. We do this by:


  • Closing the gap between the financial aid our scholars have received and the true cost of attending college

  • Providing resources and guidance during the scholar’s experience to help her navigate college life

  • Empowering scholars to get involved on campus to help foster a sense of belonging

  • Financially supporting experiential learning, such as internships, study abroad, and academic research



The Atkins Educational Foundation was established in 2018 in honor of Robert and Geraldine Atkins. 


The impact of education was often a topic of conversation in the Atkins household. Mr. Atkins was a first-generation college student, who saw for himself how a degree can change a person’s life. He was the first person in his town to go to college, profoundly expanding his options and chances of success. Mrs. Atkins was one of a small percentage of women lucky enough to attend college in the 1950s. She and her husband believed that educating a woman could improve her future and alter the trajectory of her family’s future for generations to come. 


Mrs. Atkins’ mother, Estelle Ruth Buchanan, was another source of inspiration for the family. As a young, unmarried woman, Ms. Buchanan started college and worked as a teacher, an occupation that did not require a college degree at the time.  Prior to World War II, married women were not allowed to teach. Once married, Ms. Buchanan abandoned her career and studies in order to raise her family. The law changed out of necessity during WWII, allowing her to return to teaching. After dedicating decades to her career and seeing her three children graduate from college, she decided to finally pursue her own degree. Though she was a grandmother with a stable job, she believed it was never too late to invest in her education. 


In honor of their passion for education, The Atkins Educational Foundation aims to make college more accessible for

first-generation female students. We provide our scholars with the financial resources needed to focus fully on the college experience, both academics, and extracurricular activities. 


Our founder and administrators had the opportunity to study abroad while in college. They all found the experience to be life-changing and helped them to be more understanding of the world outside of their immediate surroundings. Our Director of Operations has a Masters degree in Higher Education Administration from Northeastern University and has worked to help find college students internships and study abroad programs to help benefit their career goals. 


Because of these experiences, we feel strongly about encouraging students to pursue experiential learning opportunities and will financially support a scholar’s study abroad, internship, or research opportunity. Taking part in these is transformative for students academically, professionally, and personally.


Our scholars will go through their college experience with the financial freedom and support needed to take advantage of the opportunities a university education provides.

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