During a ceremonial check presentation at the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s June 8 meeting, Franklin Tomorrow transferred $50,000 in donations to the Columbia State Community College Foundation and the Pearl Bransford Memorial Scholarship Fund.
The Pearl Bransford Memorial Scholarship was created in conjunction with Franklin Tomorrow and the family of the late Alderman Pearl Bransford, who died Nov. 27, 2020, at the age of 67.
Franklin Tomorrow collected initial donations to endow the scholarship through Columbia State Community College for students pursuing degrees in the health sciences.
“I want to thank Franklin Tomorrow and Mayor [Ken] Moore and everyone who has contributed to this fund because it will go to help others, but most of all, I want to thank Pearl Bransford. Pearl was a member of our foundation, and she loved Columbia State dearly,” said Dr. Janet Smith, president of Columbia State Community College.
Bransford was one of the first people Smith met after taking over as CSCC president and recalled her beautiful voice and vivacious nature. Smith said she will always remember Bransford’s kindness and love for others.
“She was so kind. There was a kindness about her and love for other folks she always had. She always had a smile, no matter what was going on. It made you feel good no matter what was going on and no matter what she had going on,” Smith said. “She was so giving. She had a heart of giving.
“The gift that is being given by this scholarship is honoring her legacy. It is not just honoring her legacy, but it is beginning the legacy of another. That is what is so wonderful about the tribute being paid to her because it is paying to what she believed in and giving to what she believed in.”
Donations to the fund came not just from Franklin, but from around the world, representing the Sister Cities relationships between Franklin and Carleton Place, Ontario, Canada, and Bad Soden, Germany.
“The variety of the donors and the levels of support just shows how deeply Pearl Bransford touched the lives of people in our town and wherever she went,” said Mindy Tate, executive director of Franklin Tomorrow. “Pearl Bransford — we are so lucky — was a great supporter of Franklin Tomorrow, but also our town. She loved Columbia State almost as much as she loved anything. We are happy to have been able to coordinate the creation of this scholarship, and donations are still being accepted through the Columbia State Community College Foundation.”
Bransford was a resident of Franklin for more than 35 years, spending almost 25 years as an elected official, first for 11 years on the Franklin Special School District Board of Education and then 13 years as a member of the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
Her public service was an amplification of her outstanding professional career in nursing. She received a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Tennessee State University, a Bachelor of Science in health arts from the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois, and a Master of Science in nursing from Vanderbilt University. She served in a variety of leadership and teaching roles during her 18 years at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and was highly respected by the professionals and students with whom she worked.
It is anticipated the first Pearl Bransford Memorial Scholarship will be awarded this fall. To donate to the scholarship fund, visit https://www.columbiastate.edu/foundation/give.html.