Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Ms. Ruby N. Jones Community Scholarship Fund Celebrates its 25th Anniversary

Abe Frato
Oberlin High School

The Oberlin Community Youth Scholarship Fund was founded in 1998 to provide need-based financial aid in support of higher education to capable, college-aged students who demonstrate positive character and attend school within the Oberlin School District. The Community Scholarship Fund recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.

The scholarship was created and previously led by Ms. Ruby N. Jones, a graduate of Oberlin High School and the now closed Oberlin School of Commerce, with help of fellow Oberlin residents and friends. The scholarship aims to provide support for middle and low income families and create a stronger community that supports the education of the city’s younger generation beyond high school. In 2018, the Community Scholarship Fund was renamed to honor Jones.

Currently, Farah Emeka serves as the chair of the Board of Trustees for the scholarship foundation. Emeka is also president of the Oberlin School District Board of Education.

“The mission of the Community Scholarship Fund is to send students who live in the Oberlin School District to college,” Emeka said. “We typically provide scholarships to students who are in the middle of the pack academically. We do that because Miss Ruby Jones, who was a longtime Oberlin City School District employee, worked with a lot of students from the community who really had the drive and motivation to go to college, but not necessarily the funds. And because they were not the top of the class, honor roll, or merit roll students, they tended to be overlooked by traditional scholarship funding. She wanted to create a fund that was specifically geared toward them.”

25 years since its founding, the scholarship has raised over $200,000 for 73 young students in Oberlin. The Board of Directors, who are all volunteers, look at certain factors and personal characteristics when looking through applications. The applicant’s personal vision, academic ability, references, personal interviews, and demonstrated financial need guide the board in deciding its yearly recipients. Every year, money is raised through community donations. 

Each recipient is paired with one board member, who serves as their mentor after they are granted the scholarship. The mentor answers questions the student may have, reminds them what is necessary to have their scholarship seen all the way through, and gives any insight they have into the field the student is interested in. 

Two current Oberlin students, College third-year Julian Cross and College first-year Audrey Halstead are recipients of the scholarship. The scholarship has allowed Cross and Halstead to worry less about finances and focus more on academic areas of interest. 

“The scholarship has allowed me to focus fully on school and not the finances of it,” Cross wrote in an email to the Review. “I am sure that I am a better student and work more efficiently because I have no worries about what I need to pay to get through the semester. It also allows me to experiment more because as an art student certain materials cost money, and with the scholarship in my favor, I am able to afford these extra materials to maximize my ability as an artist.”

The Community Scholarship Board chooses recipients who they believe can make a positive impact in the Oberlin community. 

“It means a great deal to me that I was chosen, as it demonstrates that I am viewed as someone who can make a positive impact in the Oberlin community,” Halstead wrote in an email to the Review. “I plan to pursue a career in service in hopes of giving back, just as Ruby N. Jones did.”

In 2003, Oberlin College presented Jones with the Award for Distinguished Service to the Community, which is given to residents of the Oberlin area who have made significant contributions to the welfare of the community.

Jones passed away in January 2018, at the age of 89. The scholarship fund was renamed the Ruby N. Jones Community Scholarship Fund to honor Jones and her community service. 

“We changed it to her name in honor of her before she passed away, with her blessing,” Emeka said. “She was adamant that the word community needed to stay in the title of the organization.”

Recently, Oberlin officially proclaimed Oct. 23 Ruby N. Jones Day.

To learn more about the Community Scholarship Fund, visit

More to Discover