Today is #GivingTuesday and we at the Shawna E. Shea Memorial Foundation, Inc. first want to thank all our many supporters who have sustained us for the past 16 years. Because of you, we have grown and expanded this year. We’re especially proud and excited that the Foundation is now an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, which means that all donations are tax deductible.
As many of you know, we are dedicated to continuing Shawna’s memory and legacy of helping marginalized young women and men realize their hopes and dreams. We do this in several ways:
The Shawna E. Shea Memorial Scholarship honors Shawna’s memory in both very tangible and symbolic ways. She was 16 when she tragically lost her life in an automobile accident in 1999. And because of her amazing network of friends and the Uxbridge community, a town-wide walk raised more than $10,000 and the Shawna E. Shea Memorial Scholarship was established. It is awarded annually to a female Uxbridge High School graduate who exhibits Shawna’s character and personality—qualities that made her unique and left a lasting impact on everyone she touched in her short life here on Earth.
Those qualities are best described in a poem written by her father Skip Shea entitled, “She Rode Her Own Wave.” It begins with these words:
She Rode Her Own Wave
inviting any and all on,
but never drifting off on others.
It was a large wave
with a direct route to the shore
passing us as the undertow
pulls us further out.
We believe that she would always want to help her friends and anyone who lives on the margins of life, who rides their own wave and yet deserves everything beautiful that life can give.
The Shawna E. Shea Memorial Foundation Inc. also awards an annual scholarship to a graduating male Uxbridge High School student in the name of Michael Liberty, Shawna’s cousin who also passed from this life at a young age.
The Shawna Shea Film Festival (SSFF) is designed to honor truly independent films. It was established in 2012 at the Elm Cinema in Millbury, MA, with one block of independent films. Today, SSFF has its home at the Somerville Theatre in Somerville, MA and has grown into a three-day festival screening dozens of feature-length films and shorts from around the world.
The SSFF is a much anticipated festival among filmmakers everywhere and it is our unique way to support the Shawna E. Shea Memorial Foundation, Inc. as well as honor Shawna’s irresistible independent spirit by highlighting films that share the same quality.
This year, our Foundation established a new fellowship for first-time women filmmakers, which was awarded to professional studio photographer Erica Chick of Uxbridge during the 4th Annual Shawna Shea Film Festival (SSFF) at the Somerville Theatre on Nov. 20 this year.
The Women in Film Fellowship comes with a $500 stipend along with a mentorship from a variety of professionals in the filmmaking and arts community, including Shawna’s father Skip Shea, a local award-winning writer and director. Erica’s project involves writing and directing a documentary about the Empty Spaces Project in Putnam, CT, an innovative art gallery initiative that revitalizes empty downtown storefronts with cutting-edge arts programming and community education.
Erica’s finished documentary will have its premiere screening at the 2016 Shawna Shea Film Festival at the Somerville Theatre. SSFF brings together independent filmmakers locally and from around the world.
Please consider supporting our mission with your contribution by clicking on the Donate link here:
Thank you for your donation.
If you prefer, you may make your donation by check, payable to:
The Shawna E. Shea Memorial Foundation, Inc.
6 North Main Street
Uxbridge, MA 01569
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, your donation is tax deductible and will support our mission to help young people with scholarships, fellowships and educational opportunities.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
President, Shawna E. Shea Memorial Foundation, Inc.