Massachusetts couple donates $25K for BRSAF named fund

Boothbay Harbor summer residents Koster, Siagel contribute to local college fund
Tue, 08/13/2019 - 7:15am

Summer residents who read about the Boothbay Region Student Aid fund in the Boothbay Register have started the 73rd named fund in the organization’s history. Terry Koster and her husband Errin Siagel recently donated $25,000 to establish a named fund.

The couple live in Boston and have spent summers in Boothbay Harbor for decades. They became part-time residents in 2013 after buying a summer home. The couple typically spends a couple weeks per summer and weekends in the peninsula. Checking the Boothbay Register’s website, the couple learned about the BRSAF. The couple were participating in a Martha’s Vineyard golf outing in May 2018 when Koster checked up on some local news.

“We’re avid readers of the Register, and I read about the student aid fund, and we were so impressed with how the community supported students’ college education,” Koster said. “It’s a meaningful amount of money each year, and I like how it’s not limited to current high school graduates. So if someone later life wanted to start college, they can.”

A donation was made through the couple’s charitable foundation, T. Koster and E. Siagel Charitable Fund. Named fund donors may designate a preference for the student recipient’s field of study. Koster and Siagel selected vocational and certificate training in healthcare services and industry. Named fund monies are invested, and a portion of earnings are used in awarding a need-based student a yearly grant. Boothbay Region High School graduates apply for grants on a yearly basis. Graduates may receive a grant for up to six years. 

In 2019, the BRSAF provided $405,000 in grants with about half coming from named fund investments and the balance from annual fund contributions.“Adding more named funds is our goal as doing so allows the fund to increase the percentage of students’ unmet financial needs,” said Board President Louise Cowan. BRSAF currently covers 31 percent of unmet financial needs.

This was the first year for the T. Koster and E. Charitable Fund Named Fund. In June, the first recipient was a student studying nursing at Southern Maine Community College. “We both value a quality education and believe community college provides students a great education at an affordable price, so that’s why we chose to set up a fund linked to vocational and certificate education,” Koster said.

Koster is self-employed, but worked with colleges and universities for years in providing insurance for students. Siagel is retired and worked in the banking industry for 33 years.