Log in Newsletter

Foundation announces Robert H. Short scholars


Cumberland Community Foundation has announced more than $600,000 in academic scholarships for 21 high school seniors who were named Robert H. Short scholars.

The last-dollar-in award provides up to $7,500 a year for up to four years for a total of $30,000 per student, the foundation said in a release.

High school seniors from Cumberland County are eligible to apply. They are selected based on financial need, academic achievement and community service or work history, the foundation said.

This year’s scholarship budget is the highest it’s been since the scholarship program started, said Mary Holmes, president and CEO of Cumberland Community Foundation.

The foundation has nearly $1 million to award this year, she said. The Robert H. Short scholarships amount to $630,000. The remaining scholarships will be awarded through the Community Scholarship Program, she said. The deadline for that program is March 23. Applications are available online at 


Short was a local businessman and philanthropist. When he died, he left $10 million to Cumberland Community Foundation to help students attend college, something he was unable to do.

That $10 million has grown to $15 million and has already awarded $4.5 million to local students, Holmes said.

“These twenty-one students are outstanding,’’ said Gail Riddle, vice chair of the foundation’s board of directors and chair of the Robert H. Short Scholars Committee. “We know that Bob Short would be so pleased. We take stewardship of his generous scholarship gift very seriously.’’

The 2022 Robert H. Short scholars, their high schools and the college or university they plan to attend are:

  • Abraonna T. Williams, E.E. Smith High School, undecided.
  • Alyssa M. Chavis-Wanson, Gray’s Creek High School, Dartmouth College.
  • Anaya J. Forte, Gray’s Creek High School, N.C. Central University.
  • Anayah N. Butler, Jack Britt High School, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
  • Annessa D. Best, Cumberland International Early College High School, Fayetteville State University.
  • Brittney M. Santamaria-Cortez, E.E. Smith High School, N.C. State University.
  • Charles C. Morris II, Pine Forest High School, UNC-Charlotte.
  • Christopher B. Ewart, Fayetteville Academy, UNC-Chapel Hill.
  • Evan A. Isenbarger, Terry Sanford High School, N.C. State University.
  • Fabian T. Horton, home school, N.C. State University
  • Holley R. Johnson, E.E. Smith High School, Fayetteville State University.
  • Jaylyn X. Gore, Reid Ross Classical High School, East Carolina University.
  • Jazlyn N. Jones, Reid Ross Classical High School, UNC-Charlotte.
  • Josiah R. Boyd, Seventy-First High School, N.C. State University.
  • Justus T. Olsen, Freedom Christian Academy, N.C. State University.
  • Laiya G. Davis, Cumberland International Early College High School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Makayla T. Britton-Boone, Cross Creek Early College High School, UNC-Chapel Hill.
  • Mariah N. Manley, Cumberland International Early College High School, UNC-Charlotte.
  • Safiyah L. Young, Pine Forest High School, Columbia University.
  • Tamia S. Brantley, Terry Sanford High School, Fayetteville State University.
  • Thalya B. Council, Reid Ross Classical High School, N.C. Central University.

Businessman, philanthropist 

Short, who was born in Greensboro, was one of six children. After his father’s death, Short dropped out of high school at age 16 to go to work, the foundation said.

He served in combat during World War II and returned home in 1949 to work in the management program of Burlington Industries. He later relocated to Fayetteville and began working at Major Appliance Co., which he later bought, the foundation said.

During that time, Short completed home-study and night courses to obtain his high school equivalency degree.

Even though he was a successful businessman, Short always regretted that he had not attended college. He wanted to help young people have the opportunities that he did not have, the foundation said.

Much of his philanthropic work benefitted young people. During his life, he donated more than $7 million to education and youth programs. When he died in 2011, the Cumberland Community Foundation received a $10 million gift from his estate to continue his support for students.

From 2011 - 2018, the foundation awarded nearly $2.4 million in scholarships from the endowment to students attending three local colleges: Methodist University, Fayetteville State University and Fayetteville Technical Community College, the foundation said.  

The Short scholarship program now provides last-dollar-in scholarships up to $7,500 a year (up to $30,000 total for up to four years) to students from Cumberland County who will attend any four-year nonprofit college or university, the foundation said.

Cumberland Community Foundation, Robert H. Short scholars, philanthropist, college scholarships, Cumberland County