Great Aspirations Scholarship Program, Inc.
4551 Cox Road, Suite 115
Glen Allen VA 23060
Mission Statement
GRASP will help students and their families, regardless of their financial resources and at no charge to them, develop an educational plan by:
  • assisting them with the financial aid process;
  • awarding and administering scholarships;
  • inspiring them to believe that secondary and post-secondary education are attainable goals; and
  • supporting them in the attainment of their post-secondary education goals.
Web and Social Media

GRASP Advisors and Students Celebrate Success
Multi-Media Comments Please visit for pictures of GRASP's work. You can also follow GRASP on Facebook at GRASP4Virginia , Twitter @GRASPFlash, or on Instagram @GRASPFlash.
CEO/Executive Director Elizabeth E Heggie MBA
Board Chair Dr. Robert D. Holsworth
Board Chair Company Affiliation DecideSmart
Contact Information
Address 4551 Cox Road, Suite 115
Glen Allen, VA 23060
Telephone 804 527-7726
Fax 804 527-7750
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1983
Former Names
Greater Richmond Area Scholarship Program2009
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $1,299,779.00
Projected Expenses $994,396.00
Additional Documents
Pocket Card on Stationary2016View
GRASP News Fall 20152015View
Statistics and Schools2014View
2013-2014 Foundation Report2014View
Donation Brochure2014View
Donation Tax Benefit Models2013View
GRASP Information Piece2013View
Name Change Document2009View
GRASP has reports, graphs, tables and pictures readily available. Please let us know if you would like to see any additional information about our organization. 
GRASP will help students and their families, regardless of their financial resources and at no charge to them, develop an educational plan by:
  • assisting them with the financial aid process;
  • awarding and administering scholarships;
  • inspiring them to believe that secondary and post-secondary education are attainable goals; and
  • supporting them in the attainment of their post-secondary education goals.
  1. Provided free, in-school financial aid advising program to include 76 schools/venues not only in the Central Virginia/Central Blue Ridge but also in the Northern Neck region and Essex County.   During the 2014-2015 school year, advisors met with 7,284 students individually and had 48,486 contacts through parent seminars, classroom presentations, community outreach, and individual appointments.  Average student financial aid award package awarded to GRASP students exceeded $13,000.
  2. Served 646 active military or veteran families.
  3. $1,673,343 in scholarships awarded in the past seven years.
  4. College Success Program, targeting GRASP students/ scholarship winners who are now in college, in an effort to increase college retention rates, has had 753 enrolled students.  111 actively participated this past year, 75% of whom are low-income/disabled.
  5. Provided advising at 21 schools (will increase to 28 schools this year) with SOAR Virginia®, an Early Commitment Program funded by VA529. Advisors worked with up to 45 students (10th-12th grades) in each school on college readiness.  525 students are currently participating, and a 10th grade cohort will be added this fall.   98% are on track to graduate from high school. The 10th to 12th Grade program has been the fastest-growing GRASP sector.
  6. Provided financial aid/college assistance to disabled students at public high schools and at Northstar Academy, a private school for students with disabilities.  In the 2015-2016 school year, 563 students with disabilities were served.
  1. Sustain services at our present schools and increase the number of students served at each location.  Our annual cost is about $10,000 per school which can be a burden to school systems.  The majority of this cost is alleviated by private / corporate donations and funding from foundations.
  2. Increase the number/amount of scholarships we award and make our scholarships renewable.
  3. Increase the number of students/families served at Saturday at the Library programs, at which advisors assist families in completing the FAFSA.
  4. Continue and expand in the Northern Neck area the Early Commitment Program, providing college readiness planning to students beginning in the 10th grade.
  5. Sustain Latino services by providing bilingual support and assistance in finding education funding options.
  6. Expand College Success program to more fully support students in attaining their degrees and to prepare GRASP students going to college for the first time.
  1. $10,000/school; funding for each GRASP school (total of 76 in 2015-2016).
  2. Last Dollar Scholarship Funding. The annual need is $200,000. 
  3. $113,000; Expanded services of our College Success program, including an expanded role of the College Success advisor, renewable scholarships for our College Success students, up-to-date laptops for college students (primarily low income) and a summer college-readiness boot camp for rising freshmen in the College Success program.
  4. Develop GRASP's fundraising capabilities from individual donors not dependent on tax credits.
The Great Aspirations Scholarship Program, Inc. (GRASP) was founded in 1983 by Dr. Ray Gargiulo, a career educator, and Senator Walter Stosch, a long-time advocate for children, who saw the need for assisting and advising students in the development of an educational plan for after high school.
Since its beginning, the program core has been in-school advisors coaching students and parents, presenting financial aid education in school classroom settings, and delivering financial aid seminars in libraries and other public forums.
GRASP's financial aid advisors access institutional, federal, state and community resources to help their students.  Funds are available to many students, but benefiting from these funds requires completing complicated forms and documents by specific deadlines. GRASP Financial Aid Advisors help make the complex process clearer for students and their families.
GRASP began complementing the in-school advisor program with “last dollar” scholarships in the 2008-09 school year. Although GRASP advisors are often able to assemble a sizable financial aid package for students, frequently an additional $500 to $2,000 of expenses for books, technology needs and other costs are not covered by the financial aid package. As a result, some students are unable to attend the institution to which they have been accepted for admission.  The need for small, targeted "last dollar" scholarships is apparent, and through the generosity of our foundation, business, and individual donors, these scholarships are possible.  
CEO Statement

The College Board in its publication The College Keys Compact, expanding Options for Low-Income Students, reports that low-income students are at greater risk of missing admission and financial aid deadlines because of lack of informed support, complex aid applications and the fact that the aid offer notification process can be overwhelming to low-income students.

Additionally, insufficient hands-on assistance to students and families who are completing aid forms continues to provide a challenge in the financial aid application process, and, finally, parents and students tend to maintain inaccurate perceptions of college costs.  
Further, this document reports that “The FAFSA, which takes an average of 10 hours to complete, is four times longer than the simplest tax return (i.e., IRS Form 1040EZ) and longer than IRS Form 1040. This complexity disproportionately burdens those with the lowest incomes, who can benefit the most from federal aid programs but lack the know-how to complete the FAFSA."
GRASP advisors are trained to address and help students overcome these barriers. The difficulties described are exactly the niche filled by the GRASP program.  GRASP advisors are experienced college financial aid professionals.  They bring to their advising work a breadth of experience, representing a diverse range of careers, educational backgrounds, and volunteer activities.   The individuals who serve as GRASP advisors bring both experience and a commitment to college access.   This professionalism enriches the advising services provided by GRASP. There is not an area agency that provides similar services at no cost to students and families, especially directly in the high schools.
Each dollar donated to GRASP in the fiscal year ending June 2016, yielded approximately $154 in college financial aid. 
GRASP participates in Virginia's Neighborhood Assistance Program; consequently, qualified donors may be able to benefit from a 65% state tax credit. 
We invite you to join us in encouraging students (particularly those who are low-income or struggling with disabilities) to maximize their potential by continuing to post-secondary education and assisting students and their families in gathering the resources needed to access this education. 
Board Chair Statement
The cost of post-secondary education rises each year, and frequently young people do not have the finances or social circumstances to pursue such an education.  GRASP ensures that all students will be given the opportunity to continue their educations if they so desire.  GRASP assists these students, no matter what their background, by helping them to develop an educational plan for after high school.  Part of this plan includes education financing, and the GRASP advisors are trained to help students and their families navigate the maze of the financial aid process.  At least half of the students with whom GRASP works come from families that are impoverished.
GRASP's program has proven successful in helping young people continue their educations after high school, and I have chosen to work with this organization because I believe its work provides students from all backgrounds the opportunities they deserve.
Areas of Service
Areas Served
Metro Richmond
Tri-cities Region
Richmond, City
Chesterfield County
Goochland County
Hanover County
Henrico County
Hopewell, City
Petersburg, City
Powhatan County
Prince George County
Charles City County
New Kent County
Shenandoah Valley
Southside Virginia
Colonial Heights, City
Sussex County
King and Queen County
Southside Virginia
Westmoreland County
Essex County
Richmond County
Lancaster County
Northumberland County
Northern Neck
76 Participating Schools/Venues
in 31 School Systems
Augusta County
Bath County
Brunswick County
Buckingham County
Charles City County
Chesterfield County
City of Hopewell 
City of Petersburg
City of Richmond
City of Staunton
City of Waynesboro
Colonial Beach
Colonial Heights
Cumberland County
Essex County 
Goochland County
Hanover County
Henrico County
Highland County
King and Queen County 
King William County
Lancaster County
Lunenburg County
MLW Governor’s School
Nelson County
New Kent County
Northstar Academy
Northumberland County 
Powhatan County
Prince George County
Richmond County 
Sussex County
VA Home for Boys & Girls
Westmoreland County 
Board Chair
Board Chair Dr. Robert D. Holsworth
Company Affiliation DecideSmart
Term Dec 2011 to June 2017
Board of Directors
Board Members
Jane M. Alford M.Ed., CRCself-employed
Dr. David Bailey Jr.David Bailey Associates
Kenneth D. Barker Dominion Virginia Power
The Honorable Randolph Beales Court of Appeals of Virginia
Mr. James W. Beamer Legislative Outreach, Dominion Resources
Matthew P. Bosher Esq.Partner, Hunton & Williams, LLP
Congressman David A Brat 7th District of Virginia
The Honorable Jean Cunningham Esq.The McCammon Group
Thomas M. Denson III, CPAKeiter, Stephens, Hurst, Gary & Shreaves
David W. Didawick CPADidawick & Company, P.C.
Kenneth M. Dye Comcast Metro Richmond
Dr. Raymond Gargiulo Richmond Public Schools (retired)
Mr. Julian S. Hillary III, CFADavenport & Company
Dr. Robert D. Holsworth Virginia Tomorrow
Robert B. Maxwell IIIMinuteman Press
Andrea McDaniel NBC Channel 12
Dr. Robyn Diehl McDougle Virginia Commonwealth University
Diane Reynolds - Cane M.D.Central Area Health Network
Mrs. Paula F. Robinson State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
Elsie Rose CPA,CGMAUnion Bank & Trust
Dr. Sarah Huggins Scarbrough City of Richmond Sheriff's Office
The Honorable Levar Stoney Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia
Stacey Strawn M.A. Ed.H.D.Owner, Blue Moon Galleries
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 6
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 17
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 15
Female 9
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 63
Written Board Selection Criteria? No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 0
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Standing Committees
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.

GRASP has taken care to not only structure the organization for our students but also for our donors. We can offer qualified donors 65% state tax credit with a five-year carry-over.  The maximum donation for tax credit qualification is $125,000. 


Executive Director
Executive Director Elizabeth E Heggie MBA

     Bettsy Heggie graduated from Salem College in North Carolina. She received her MBA from Wake Forest University. Her experience is in organizational formation, growth and administration. While at Continental Cablevision, later known as Comcast, she was a Senior Director of Information Technology. In this role, she developed and managed the company's first corporate-wide department for information technology contracts, budgeting, human resources, and accounting. This provided her the opportunity to work across the United States, in Argentina, and in the United Kingdom.

     While with Comcast, Bettsy earned project management certification, which follows a telecommunications-developed project management curriculum, at the University of Denver's Center for Project Management. Additionally, while with Comcast, Bettsy completed The Center for Creative Leadership's LeaderLab program. While in the cable television industry Bettsy served on the board of directors of the Women in Cable and Telecommunications.

     Also during this time, Bettsy served as the treasurer of Tuckahoe Elementary and Middle School P.T.A.'s and the president of the Tuckahoe Middle School P.T.A.  She and her husband Tom, a career public school educator, have one child, now grown, a product of Henrico County Public Schools and the College of William and Mary.

     Since joining GRASP in 2006, Bettsy has been the advisor at Meadowbrook High School in Chesterfield County, the advisor at Freeman High School in Henrico County, the Advising Coordinator, and Director of Advisors.  She became GRASP Executive Director and CEO in January 2010.  Bettsy serves on the Board of Directors of the Virginia College Access Network. 

     Both assets and resources have grown significantly under her tenure. In January 2010, there were GRASP Advisors in 40 Virginia high schools, and GRASP served 3,700 students. By June of 2016, GRASP advisors worked in 76 high schools and assisted more than 7,200 individual students.

Former CEOs
Dr. Raymond Garguilo Ed.D.Oct 1983 - Jan 2008
Dr. Sarah Scarbrough Nov 2008 - Jan 2010
Senior Staff
Ms. Paula Buckley Public Affairs
Ms. Anne Parker Michie Esq.Director of Advising
Full Time Staff 4
Part Time Staff 51
Volunteers 1
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 67
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV);
Virginia College Savings Plan;
Chesterfield County Public Library System;
Henrico County Public Library System; 
United Methodist Family Services;
Virginia Community College System;
The Community Foundation of Central Virginia; 
The Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge;
Project Discovery;
Richmond Public Library System;
Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce;
Virginia College Access Network (VaCAN)
Virginia Association of Financial Aid Administrators (VASFAA) 
Northstar Academy;
Virginia Department of Education;
All School Systems in which GRASP serves 
River Counties Community Foundation
Bridging Richmond
Americorps/Richmond Public Schools initiative (Future Centers)

     GRASP’s goal is to ensure that every student has an equal opportunity for continuing education after high school, regardless of financial or social circumstances. We emphasize assisting students from low-income families, many of whom do not believe they will be able to attend a post-secondary institution, primarily for financial reasons.  

     GRASP advisors complement school counseling services by helping students navigate the postsecondary financial aid process, including accessing federal, state, and institutional aid to attend four year-colleges, community colleges, or technical schools.

     Advisors help students understand that regardless what their high school academic record was, there is a future for them in post-secondary education (i.e.,four-year college, technical school, community college or apprenticeship.) 

Advisors help with FAFSA completion, scholarship applications, and explaining financial aid award letters, enabling students to make choices that minimize debt.

Population Served K-12 (5-19 years)
Budget $736,839.00
Short Term Success
GRASP seeks to increase the number students who access college financial aid, thus allowing them to remove a significant barrier to accessing post-secondary education. In most years, over 90% of the students with whom GRASP financial aid advisors met completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and were planning to continue their educations. 
GRASP seeks to  improve the college attendance rate of students with whom GRASP advisors work. Over 90% of the students who met with a GRASP advisor in 2013 attended post-secondary education. Figures not available yet for 2014.
Long Term Success

As a result of this program, every student will have an equal opportunity for continuing education after high school, regardless of financial or social circumstances.  By developing educational plans for post-secondary education and giving hope to students and families who may not believe college or vocational training is available to them, we envision reducing high school dropout rates and moving young people towards productive and successful lives and careers.  

Description GRASP awards at least one scholarship to a graduating senior at each GRASP-served school.  GRASP also awards scholarships to a number of students in our College Success Program. Scholarships range from $500 to $4,500.  Additionally, GRASP helps administer scholarships for other organizations that need assistance in publicizing, organizing, and selecting scholarship winners.
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years)
Budget $143,500.00
Short Term Success

For the sixth consecutive year, GRASP awarded “Last Dollar” Scholarships to students in the high schools where GRASP advisors work.  These scholarships are intended to close the gap between a student’s financial aid award and the money actually needed to attend college.  Scholarships range from $500 - $4,500. The 2014-2015 GRASP scholarship committee considered applications from high school seniors for Last Dollar Scholarships, as well as college students for College Success Scholarships. Of our scholarship recipients who reported financial information to us, more than half are from families dealing with significant financial hardships.

In 2014-2015, GRASP awarded $125,000 in Last Dollar Scholarships and $28,500 to College Success students. 

Long Term Success Ideally, every GRASP student who needed money to be able to attend college would receive enough of a scholarship to make up the gap between the money the college awards them and the amount of money they need to attend that college, until the completion of his or her degree. To assist in this process, GRASP would like to make our scholarships renewable. 

In addition to our work in high schools, GRASP has a College Success Program aimed at increasing the college retention rate.  Statistics from the Chronicle of Higher Education show that only 49% of Virginia students who enroll in a public college or university graduate on time, and less than 68% actually receive a degree within 6 years.  The College Success Program assists students by providing support as they transition from high school to college and continuing through their college years.  


•      College Success is open to GRASP scholarship recipients as well as other GRASP students who choose to participate.

•      The objective is for 80% of students to take at least 6 credit hours each semester until graduation, while maintaining a minimum 2.0 GPA.

•      Strategies include: monthly email, networking events, financial aid assistance, and on-line community support.

•      There were 753 students enrolled in the College Success program last year, with 111 active participants.  Approximately 75% of College Success students are under significant financial stress.

Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Budget $63,500.00
Short Term Success We currently have approximately 175 "active" participating students in the College Success program.  In the 2014-2015 academic year, GRASP awarded $60,250 in scholarships to College Success students.
Long Term Success

80% of College Success Students will graduate from college. Strategies that will help with this goal are: 

1.      80% of College Success students will take at least six credit hours each semester, until successful completion of their degree.

2.     80% of College Success students will maintain a minimum of 2.0 GPA.

3.     100% of College Success students will fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year, helping them receive as much financial aid as possible. 

Description GRASP works in collaboration with the Richmond Public Library, the Chesterfield County Public Libraries, and the Henrico County Public Libraries to bring the expertise of our advisors to those people who cannot meet with them in the schools.  On selected evenings and weekends from September through March, GRASP advisors meet with students and their families in individual as well as group sessions.  GRASP financial aid advisors help the families complete the FAFSA and other financial aid forms on-site.  The Library staff help with publicity, provision of the internet, and providing meeting rooms.  In addition, GRASP now has an advisor in the Belmont Branch of the Richmond Public Library one day of the week from October through April.  All consultations with advisors require appointments. 
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years)
Budget $10,000.00
Short Term Success
Our objective for the Library Services is for 95% of those who attend a library session to report that their understanding of college access and financial aid has increased. Participants are surveyed following events to gauge their knowledge improvement.
Long Term Success The long-term success of this program is consistent with the GRASP in-school advising program. The library programs allow families to access services outside of the high school day, as some parents cannot leave work to meet with an advisor.

GRASP implements SOAR Virginia®, an Early Commitment Program funded by Virginia529 College Savings Plan℠, in 28 GRASP schools. In this program, advisors begin to work with students in the 10th Grade. Up to 45 students in each school have the opportunity to participate in this college readiness program through which each student can earn up to $2,000 for college. GRASP advisors work with students on financial literacy, attendance, grades, community service, post-secondary school options and post-secondary financial aid. Students have earned $464,000 in scholarships funded by Virginia529. 100% of participating students are on track to graduate from high school.

Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Budget $63,000.00
Short Term Success Short term success is measured by each student meeting with a GRASP advisor at least four times each school year, participating in community service, maintaining a 2.5 GPA, not having unexcused absences, participating in financial literacy education, and not having conduct violations. FAFSA completion is required for seniors, and high school graduation rates are also tracked.
Long Term Success GRASP advisors work with students on financial literacy, attendance, grades, community service, post-secondary options and post-secondary financial aid.

The program's success is measured by students meeting the program requirements, set by Virginia529 College Savings Plan℠, all three years (10th-12th grades) of high school and then continuing their post-secondary education at technical school, community college or a four year college.
CEO/ED/Board Comments GRASP has expanded its efforts to get information to the public about the GRASP mission in the past year.  We would like to reach and assist even more students.  Additionally, we continue to revise and update our website so it is helpful and user-friendly, and we are increasing our presence on social media platforms.  These communication tools are full of information about financial aid opportunities and scholarships, our organization, and donation opportunities.  Please visit us at  We are also increasing our social media presence to especially appeal to students.  You can follow us on Facebook at GRASP4Virginia, Twitter @GRASPFlash, and on Instagram.
Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $1,299,779.00
Projected Expenses $994,396.00
Spending Policy N/A
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$287,250$290,147$390,576
Individual Contributions$882,660$1,074,283$661,340
Investment Income, Net of Losses$27,980$13,688$4,758
Membership Dues------
Special Events$7,573$3,276--
Revenue In-Kind$22,650$21,588$17,143
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$903,572$844,740$703,750
Administration Expense$142,283$136,372$79,787
Fundraising Expense$10,333--$30,097
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.441.511.51
Program Expense/Total Expenses86%86%86%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue1%0%3%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$2,760,503$2,270,070$1,656,577
Current Assets$2,484,487$2,254,507$1,640,564
Long-Term Liabilities$0----
Current Liabilities$23,516$1,603$3,841
Total Net Assets$2,736,987$2,268,467$1,652,736
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities105.651406.43427.12
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit 11/2016View
Organization Comments GRASP is structured to meet the criteria of the Virginia Neighborhood Assistance Act and as such can offer 65% Virginia state income tax credits for qualified donations.  These income tax credits are available to both individuals and businesses.   Individuals must contribute a minimum of $500 in order to receive a tax credit; contributions can be cash or marketable securities.  The minimum VA state tax credit given to individuals is $325 and the maximum is $81,250.  Businesses must give a minimum of $615 in either cash, securities, or, in some instances, services, in order to qualify for the tax credit.  For more information, please go to our website at 
Foundation Comments
  • Financial information provided from accountant's compilation reports.
  • Compilations and IRS 990s prepared by Owen & Company, PLC.
  • Revenue from "Foundations and Corporations" also includes support from individuals.