The beneficiary of a kindness pays one in return.
While Charlie Blackwood was growing up in Nashville, he attended church with John and Linda Heflin Johnston, donors of the Johnston-Foster Christian Education Fund. “They always took a vested interest in me, and they saw me work hard for everything I really wanted in life,” Blackwood said.
When Blackwood decided to attend Lipscomb University, he seemed a likely candidate for the scholarship.
“My husband and I like the recipient of our scholarship to be someone we know from the area who needs the money,” Linda said. “We fund our scholarship based on need and what we feel the student can actually do. And we try to be more personal with it.” The couple met 20 years ago at a Lipscomb board meeting. John and his first wife, who is deceased, had established a scholarship fund for students, and Linda had established one in memory of her parents. After they married, they decided to combine the two and name it after his deceased wife and Linda’s parents.
In 2010, Blackwood graduated from Lipscomb with a degree in marketing and a minor in graphic arts. He now works in Nashville as a marketing assistant for a mortgage company. And recently, he made a generous gift to the Johnston-Foster Fund as a way of giving back and making a difference in the life of another student.
“The scholarship I received took some of the burden off the work I had to do, and I wanted to pass that on to other people,” he explained. “I want to know that lives are being impacted, and I know from firsthand experience that this scholarship is doing that.”
Since the fund is already established, Blackwood was able to contribute without putting his name on a scholarship fund or starting something new. This is important to him, as he enjoys being in the background and does not like to receive credit for things.
“John and Linda have always been the quiet people in the back row who have tried to be the silent leaders,” he said. “I have learned from them that it’s not always the people in the forefront who make the changes in life. It’s sometimes the people on the side who help to mold and shape things. My education at Lipscomb was a good one, and anybody who is a recipient of the scholarship fund is going to benefit as well.”