Johnson Family Scholarship History
The Johnson Family Memorial Scholarship, a program of Highland Haven, a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization, honors the legacy of the late Reverend Sam Johnson, his wife Opal and their son, Dr. Richard Johnson. After Rev Johnson’s death in 1981, Mother Opal and Highland founded a nonprofit scholarship fund named “The Sam Johnson Scholarship Fund” to honor his legacy as an education advocate for youths. The scholarship was created to assist students in lessening the burdens associated with attending college by providing financial and advisory support to students seeking higher education.
Mother Opal Johnson was a charismatic leader who was not only persuasive, but also driven by her commitment to education at Highland and in the Portland community. She worked tirelessly to sustain the scholarship Fund and along with Richard, they provided remarkable leadership to the Johnson Family Scholarship annual banquet; historically JFMS’s main fundraising event, up until her passing in 2011. After her death, the scholarship was renamed to not only honor her late husband, but also her, the scholarship was updated to “The Sam and Opal Johnson Scholarship Fund”. Dr. Richard Johnson led efforts to develop the Johnson Scholar Program at Concordia University which provided a 4-year tuition assistance to promising scholars. After his passing in April 2012, the scholarship was renamed to “The Johnson Family Memorial Scholarship”.
The Johnson family were strong education advocates for youth and believed in the power of education as a liberating force. Through their efforts and continued endeavors by the Johnson Family Scholarship Program, the legacy and commitment to education continues. In the last 40 years, the JFMS provided financial assistance to over 400 students in various institutions of higher learning across the United States and some of the past recipients are now doctors, attorneys, educators and business owners. The JFMS program seeks to help improve high school and college graduation success rates through various programs including college scholarships, academic and career advising, “stay in school” campaigns and graduation recognition events.
Special thanks and acknowledgements to our past and present long standing contributors and supporters: Concordia university, St. Luke Lutheran church, Benson Foundation, SEI Inc. and Highland Christian Center.
The Mission of The Highland Haven
The mission of The Highland Haven is to “educate and empower" helping youth to reach their potential with the vision of becoming self-directed, autonomous adults. The Highland Haven is a non-profit organization which targets distressed and promising youth and families by providing the necessary tools to increase their participation and engagement, resulting in a college educated citizens who will “pay it forward” in their communities:
Thus the Johnson Family Memorial Scholarship Fund!