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Paying It Forward: The Impact of Washington CPA Foundation’s Scholarship Program

May 15, 2023

by Martha Ramirez, CPA

It’s no surprise that pursuing a career in accounting can be expensive and that cost is a considerable barrier to many students. Scholarships and other financial assistance become essential to these students and make a real difference in their overall success. Today, I am proud to be the President of the Washington CPA Foundation Board. It is the Foundation’s mission to strengthen the profession by partnering with donors and providing scholarships to students pursuing an accounting degree. By supporting students as they pursue their degree, we are not only helping them achieve their educational goals, but we are also investing in the future of our profession. 

When I was a student, I was fortunate enough to receive one of these scholarships. While the financial support allowed me to pay for my tuition and other expenses, the real benefits were in the connections that I made. As a scholarship recipient, I was granted a student membership to the WSCPA and was able to attend conferences, network with other accounting professionals, and build relationships that I’ve maintained to this day. It’s incredible to look back and see what this path looked like for me—knowing that without the financial support I may not have earned my degree when I did, but I also would have missed out on the networking experiences that allowed me to build confidence and knowledge to prepare me for an accounting career.

As the current board president, I am excited to pay it forward and help the Foundation provide these same opportunities to the next generation of accounting students. This is my first year reviewing scholarship applications and I’m fascinated by the stories applicants have shared. The stories range from heartwarming to inspirational and paint a picture of students who are simply trying to do better for themselves, for their families, for their futures. Throughout these stories, there is a common thread—a passion for the accounting profession and a desire to succeed in their careers. We get glimpses of the challenges these applicants face in their day-to-day lives and it’s clear that scholarships provide more than just financial support, they provide students the opportunity to achieve their goals and make a difference in their communities.

I mentioned earlier that this is the first year I am reviewing scholarship applications. This is primarily due to the review process taking place during tax season. However, despite the busy season, each year we have a pool of professionals willing to volunteer their time to review scholarship applications. Their commitment and expertise ensure that our scholarships are awarded to students who deserve them, and who will make the most of their educational opportunities. We truly appreciate their dedication to our mission and their willingness to help support the next generation of accounting professionals.

Finally, I would like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to our named scholarship contributors and endowments, and all those who have made contributions to the Foundation (see page 14). Their continued support makes it possible for us to make a real difference in the lives of students pursuing a career in accounting. If you would like to contribute to the Foundation, you can do so when you renew your WSCPA membership, or at any time here.

Martha Ramirez, CPA, is a Tax Operations Manager at Clark Nuber PS in Bellevue and President of the Washington CPA Foundation Board. You can contact Martha at mramirez@clarknuber.com.