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Meryl Streep donates $10,000 to Upward Bound at RIC

RIC shows pride in one of its alums with this campus banner recognizing Viola Davis’ accomplishments.

RIC shows pride in one of its alums with this campus banner recognizing Viola Davis’ accomplishments.
Actress Meryl Streep, who only days ago was awarded an Oscar for portraying Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady,” has in turn made an award of her own – $10,000 – to Upward Bound at RIC in honor of the program’s most famous graduate, Viola Davis.

Streep’s donation is to Upward Bound’s Scholarship Endowment Fund, which was founded by Davis and her sister Deloris Davis Grant. Viola graduated from Upward Bound in 1983; Deloris in 1982. Both are also 1988 graduates of RIC.

The donation came from Steep’s Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts.


Viola Davis in a 1988 performance for RIC’s Upward Bound program.
This marks the second time Streep has donated to Upward Bound, which is designed to instill in low-income, potential first-generation college students the skills and motivation to complete high school and graduate from college. The first gift was made in May 2009 and was for $2,500.

The sisters founded the Scholarship Fund in 1988 as a way to give back to future generations of Upward Bound students, according to Mariam Boyajian, director of the program since 1981 and a 1970 RIC grad.

Since the first scholarship was granted in 1989, 55 graduating seniors have received the major awards totaling $64,400.

Boyajian said she was “delighted” to receive the gift from Streep in honor of Davis. “It is striking to know that Viola continues to share her love and respect for this program with her peers, that she continues her personal support of this program from which she graduated, and that she is so committed to assisting the youth of her hometown and Upward Bound.”

According to Boyajian, “Viola is Viola…she holds the same values, high level of integrity, and connection to her family, her Central Falls community, the college, and Upward Bound.”

Since 1966, the federally funded Upward Bound at RIC has served over 2,000 high school students. The program works to increase the high school and college graduation rates of program participants and is committed to providing equal access and opportunity to students from specific target high schools who meet federal eligibility requirements.