ISF Board of Directors
Jeff and Denise Hoyt
John and Vicki Kelly
Ken and Cindy Mills
Jason and Ann Marie Smith
Tyler and Katie Talman
Lisa Turner VanValkenburgh
Executive Director: Dr. Blair Ritchey
Operations Director: Gina Fawcett
To provide scholarships, mentoring and leadership training for select foster care and orphaned students…raising up leaders of influence.
We envision thousands of foster care and orphaned students transformed into successful leaders, thriving professionally and impacting communities around the world.
What does it mean to “Age Out?” At the age of 18, foster kids are removed from the system (age-out) and sent out into the “real world.” After being expelled from the system that served as their surrogate family, the new adults are suddenly faced with an uncertain future. Loneliness and despair often ensue due to their not being prepared to make it on their own. This is in stark contrast to students that grow up in traditional families. They enjoy the support of their family as they transition into being on their own during the college years. Not so for “aged-out” foster care students.
The International Student Foundation (ISF) is an organization committed to changing lives through education, mentoring and leadership training. Its mission is to transform orphaned or former foster care students into tomorrow’s leaders by providing leadership mentoring as well as tuition assistance through scholarships during the recipient’s college journey. The ISF Team is dedicated to making a difference in the life of each student that we sponsor. But then, this is no ordinary scholarship. Recipients of an ISF scholarship not only receive tuition assistance to the college of their choice, but they also receive personal mentoring and leadership training. When assigned a mentor, each student recipient receives a commitment of time and attention devoted purely to their individual growth and leadership development. ISF has only been in existence for 10 years, but their early efforts are bearing fruit.
The Reality and How ISF Helps
See our latest videos:
- 2017 Video
- 2016 Video
- 2015 Video
- Foster Care Facts and How ISF Helps (1 minute)
- ISF Students beating the odds (7 minutes)
Watch this YouTube video and learn more about the experience of aging out of the foster system and how ISF helps youth attending college.
See it now! Watch the video clip of Ashley Polito and ISF student, Dustin Haley on The Texas Daily show. Aired June 24, 2013.
See if ISF Support is right for you! Click Here!
Ben Carroll serves as the Chancellor of SME University. His passion is to empower financial professionals to attract and serve their clients as trusted family financial officers and to help them discover and fulfill their purpose in life. Ben has more than 30 years of industry experience with specialties in leadership, team building, client development and business processes.
Ben earned his Bachelor of Science from Dallas Christian College, graduating Cum Laude and President of his Senior Class. He earned his Master of Science in Human Relations and Management from Abilene Christian University, graduating Magna Cum Laude and has been teaching leadership and professional development since 1984.He has taught at Southern Methodist University, LeTourneau University, and through the Texas community college system at Brookhaven, Eastfield, Northlake and Collin County Community Colleges, as well as conducting numerous workshops at country clubs and churches in the Dallas area.
Ben and his wife Dee founded the International Student Foundation that provides scholarships, mentoring and leadership training for orphaned and aged-out foster care students. Ben and Dee reside in Granbury, Texas. They have four sons and five grandchildren. Their life is full and their joy comes from Christian service and sharing life with family and friends.
Dee Carroll currently serves as the President and Chief Operations Officer of Sovare. Previously, Dee managed a turn-around for an assisted living center owned by her church in Plano, Texas, taking it from 25% occupancy to 100% occupancy with a waiting list in 18 months. Before that Dee managed her own executive suite business, Suite Success, Inc. (SSI) taking it from 4 employees and one location in 1983 to 45 employees and 7 locations in 1998. At the time of her sale in 1998, SSI was the largest executive suite company in the DFW area and at that time had more than 1,200 offices serving over 100 fortune 500 companies.
Dee received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Education, Business and Career Development from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She taught two years at Holdredge High School in Nebraska and was recognized by the State of Nebraska and the University of Nebraska as an outstanding young educator which resulted in the University extending her a fellowship and full scholarship for her business graduate degree.
Dee’s passion is to provide the highest quality of support and service in a high integrity environment that fosters maximum enjoyment and success for every member of the community. Dee and her husband Ben founded the International Student Foundation that provides scholarships, mentoring and leadership training for orphaned and aged-out foster care students. Dee and Ben reside in Granbury, Texas. They have four sons and five grandchildren. Their life is full and their joy comes from Christian service and sharing life with family and friends.