Dennis W. Holder Scholarship Fund History
The Dennis W. Holder Scholarship Fund is a non-profit organization, federally tax-exempt under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code as an organization described in section 501(c)(3). The purpose of this fund is to provide scholarships for children or grandchildren, either biological or adopted, of the City of Houston paid fire fighters, to attend an accredited college, university or technical training school.
The Dennis W. Holder Scholarship Fund was established in honor of the late Dennis W. Holder who held the position of Assistant Fire Chief in the Houston Fire Department. He had a reputation for being a great public servant. He was a firefighters’ firefighter and a mentor to many Houston firefighters.
Dennis served on the board of the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund beginning in January 1988. During his term as a trustee, he served as Chair from 1990 until his untimely death on November 23, 1995. He devoted the last seven years of his life to the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund doing what he loved to do – looking out for the best interests of the firefighters.
Linda Holder started the Dennis W. Holder Scholarship Fund in 1998 in honor of her deceased husband. Through the help of previous board of directors, Troy Blakeney, Bill Blythe, Roland Chavez, George Cones, Mario Gallegos, Jack Gasler, Jacquelyn G. Haynes, Linda K. Holder, Scott Mellott, V.E. Rogers, Tommy Shelton, Michael Voulgaris, and John Whitmire, the Dennis W. Holder Scholarship Fund was created and incorporated under the laws of Texas. It’s by laws and articles of incorporation were adopted on May 28, 1998.
The scholarship fund began with a golf tournament fundraiser on May 15, 2000. This fundraiser generated a net income of approximately $23,000.
Because of personal and business commitments, the previous board members resigned and a new set of board of directors were elected on January 31, 2002. The new board of directors took over the administration of the scholarship fund with approximately $26,900 in the coffers.
The current board of directors who were elected on January 23rd, 2019 consists of one active City of Houston firefighter who was a past trustee of the Houston Firefighters’ Relief & Retirement Fund, two active and one retired City of Houston firefighters, and seven private citizens. They are as follows: Harold McDonald (Chairman), Tommy Shelton (Vice Chairman), Andy Elmore (Treasurer), Starla Gregory (Secretary) and members, Leslie Dean, Jeffrey Bacot, Steven Valdez, Jacqueline Medina, Alison Stein, Byron Todd, and Bruce Coane.
Because of the enthusiastic participation from active and retired firefighters through payroll and pension deductions, and the generous support of private citizens and organizations, the scholarship fund grew. In addition to these donations, the scholarship fund also holds an annual Gala in October each year. Through these combined efforts, we have been able to distribute over $3.4 million to over 5,535 eligible recipients who have each received between $500-$750 in scholarship funds from the 2003 Fall semester through the 2018 Fall semester.
Our goal is to award scholarships to all eligible candidates, year after year. We are committed to shaping the future of these children. We strongly believe in the power of education and its ability to better both the world and the individual.