Several times a year I speak to graduate students about addictions, the MRC, and the Al Forthan Scholarship. In 2015, I was sharing with PSU MSW students about the Scholarship and Al Forthan. One of the students, Sharice, raised her hand and shared that she was a 2010 recipient and expressed her gratitude and how much the Scholarship benefited her. It was so rewarding to see her graduate in 2015 with her MSW and then return to our Scholarship awards ceremony to share her story with the 2015 Scholarship winners!
– Greg Stone, Al Forthan Scholarship creator
Attending college has not only changed my life and provided me with amazing opportunities, but it has allowed me to break the cycle of poverty and addiction in my family. I learned so much about myself while attending college and found my passion and purpose in this world. Now I have the privilege to serve and support my community in the same ways that I needed support as a young person.
Application Window Open for 2023
Read the latest issue of the Al Forthan Scholarship Newsletter!
Watch the 11th Annual Al Forthan Memorial Scholarship Virtual Awards Ceremony
About the Scholarship
The purpose of the scholarship is threefold: to honor Al Forthan, to award higher education scholarships to students from families impacted by addiction and poverty, and to encourage students to explore how addiction has impacted our community and the solutions to this complex problem.
Al Forthan was a man that was heavily involved in the drug and criminal lifestyle in Portland. In 1991, Al made a dramatic life change toward recovery when he entered and completed the treatment program at Volunteers of America Men’s Residential Center (MRC). After graduating the treatment program, he enrolled in the Portland Community College Alcohol & Drug Counselor Program to become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. In 1992, he became the first alumnus to work at the MRC. He worked from his heart and brought love, wisdom, integrity, humility, and a deep passion and commitment to recovery. During the ten years at MRC, Al touched the lives of hundreds of men and was the ultimate role model of recovery.
After Al Forthan passed away in 2006, Greg Stone, the Program Director of the MRC, created this scholarship in Al’s honor. He took $500 dollars out of his own pocket to award to an Oregon high school senior who came from a family impacted by addiction. This scholarship was created to help break the cycle of addiction within families by supporting students to achieve their dreams of attending college and furthering their education. The students awarded are extremely resilient, which is shown through their effort in school and service work. The $500 scholarship grew immensely since 2006. We were able to award $70,000 to 33 Oregon high school seniors in 2022. Since 2006, we have awarded $790,000 in scholarship assistance. Our aim is to continue supporting these incredible students in their future goals and breaking down the cycle of addiction within families. This is only possible with the help and support of those in our community.
We Stand for Social Justice
Our country and the world have finally started to acknowledge the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement. Volunteers of America Oregon Men’s Residential Center (MRC) and The Al Forthan Scholarship have been partners in the effort for racial justice since the Scholarship’s inception in 2006.
Many of us are asking “how can I help this movement?” There are several great causes we can support, and one is right here in our own community, The Al Forthan Scholarship. In honor of native Portlander Al Forthan. The Al Forthan Scholarship supports Oregon high school seniors who come from families impacted by addiction and poverty.