Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

​APTF: 2016 in Review​​

Under the guidance of Chair Jennifer Mitchell, the American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) had a successful year. In 2016 the foundation topped the scholarship award record set last year and awarded $130,000 to 27 scholars and transit professionals. The average scholarship awarded was $5,000, which meant that the awards had a meaningful impact forGolf 8.jpg
those that received them. Since the foundation began in 1988 more than $950,000 has been invested in over 280 qualified scholars and transit professionals.

This year the APTF was pleased to award two named scholarships for the first time: one in the name of APTA’s immediate past chair Valarie J. McCall and one funded by Bombardier. The foundation was also awarded a one-time scholarship in the name of a longtime colleague and friend of the industry Clarence “Cal” Marsella. The scholarship offered in Cal’s name was made possible by his family, who requested that donations be made in his memory to the foundation. 

In 2016 the foundation conducted several successful fundraising activities. An event held at the APTA Annual Meeting in Los Angeles brought in more than $40,500 and the annual Golf Tournament, raised an additional $11,500. The foundation also produced a successful “Back to School” fundraising campaign, which increased the presence of the foundation and highlighted the work the APTF is doing to support scholars and transit professionals as they continue their education and advance their careers in public transit. 

reception picture.jpgAs 2016 draws to a close, the foundation is actively working to raise funds to reach the $50,000 threshold for a named scholarship for Jim Cowen, former APTA chair and Hall of Fame Member. The effort to fund a permanent, named scholarship began shortly after Cowen’s death in 2005 when Reba Malone, who was Chair of APTA when the APTF was formed, created the James Cowen Scholarship Fund. Since then many have contributed to the Fund but after more than ten years, we were only half way to our goal. In July of this year Rick Simonetta, a 25-year member of the APTF Board, took on the challenge to lead the effort to achieve full funding in 2016. As noted by Mr. Simonetta “[Jim] was an inspiration and a visionary at a time when our industry was positioned to make great strides across many fronts.”

In 2016 the Foundation, the Board of Directors, and all of our donors have worked hard to further APTF’s mission to increase and retain the number of individuals choosing the transit field as a career by providing scholarships and engagement opportunities to deserving students and transit professionals. However, there is still much to do. Please keep an eye out in 2017 for new opportunities to engage in the foundation and support the next generation of transit leaders. 

If you are interested in contributing to the Jim Cowen Scholarship Fund or the foundation General Fund, please click here to make an online donation.  

APTF Establishes McCall Scholarship
The American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) Board of Directors has announced the ​establishment of the Valarie J. McCall Scholarship in honor of the 2015-2016 APTA chair. The scholarship was unanimously approved by the APTF Board of Directors March 13 at its meeting during the APTA Legislative Conference in Washington, DC.

As a result, the Valarie J. McCall Scholarship will be awarded for the first time in 2016 to a deserving applicant who is pursuing studies in urban transportation planning or public administration with a focus on transportation.

“APTF is honored to create this named scholarship for Valarie McCall,” said APTF Chair Jennifer Mitchell, director, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.  “As chair of the APTA Board of Directors she has focused on building collaboration in the public transit industry, and she has long been a leader within the city of Cleveland. This APTF scholarship will recognize her contributions to APTA and to the entire transit industry for years to come.”

This scholarship fund was created after a successful event held in McCall’s honor at the 2015 APTA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, sponsored by HNTB, HDR, the Solis Group, Legacy Resource Group and Olivier Incorporated.

This event raised more than $43,000, which included $10,000 contributed by APTA’s Business Member Board of Governors (BMBG). An additional $16,000 was raised during the Annual Meeting, for a total of $59,000, which exceeded APTF’s minimum threshold of $50,000 to establish a scholarship endowment. At the Legislative Conference on March 13, some key fund raisers presented APTF with a commemorative check. (An additional $1,000 was applied to the scholarship fund after the check was created.)

This scholarship was made possible by 105 individual contributors, including APTA’s business members, and the dedicated efforts of the individuals who organized and sponsored the Annual Meeting event.

The APTF Board of Directors thanked McCall, who served two two-year terms as a member of the APTF board, for her support of the foundation and her commitment to the future leaders of the public transportation industry. 


The mission of APTF is to retain and increase the number of individuals choosing a career in public transportation by providing scholarships and engagement opportunities to deserving students and transit professionals.

Since its founding in 1988, APTF has awarded more than 250 scholarships totaling more than $800,000. The cumulative impact of nurturing a new generation of public transit professionals has been immeasurable. In 2015, 32 deserving recipients were awarded $110,000 in scholarships—the highest single-year amount in APTF history.

For details about APTF scholarships and other programs, click here.​​

APTF 2015 - Year in Review


The year 2015 was a particularly good one for the American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF). 


The foundation awarded the highest single-year amount in its history, $110,000, to 32 deserving scholars, allowing them the opportunity to advance their careers in public transit. With the 2015 Scholarships, the foundation has now awarded more than 250 scholarships since it was founded in 1988, for a combined total of more than $800,000 invested in qualified young leaders. The cumulative impact of nurturing a new generation of transit professionals has been immeasurable.


APTF also established two new named scholarships this year, one to honor longtime APTA staffer Fran Hooper and the other to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Scholarship, funded at $58,000 and $112,000 respectively. Preparations have been made for the inaugural Bombardier Transportation Scholarship, which will be awarded in 2016.


The foundation conducted several successful funding activities in 2015. An event in honor of new APTA Chair Valarie J. McCall, held at the APTA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, brought in more than $33,000. The annual Golf Tournament, also in San Francisco, raised another $14,000 for the foundation. The 2015 Holiday Drive raised $3,500.

2015 APTF Scholarship Recipients

Annual Meeting group, resized.PNG
​This past October, the APTF presented scholarships to 32 scholars this year at the 2015 APTA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA. A total of $110,000 in academic scholarships was awarded, the highest amount in the history of the Foundation. The Fran Hooper Scholarship and the ADA 25th Anniversary Scholarship were awarded for the very first time. 

APTF's ​Annual Golf Tournament

Golf Tournament photo.jpg 

APTF is hosting its 24th annual Golf Fundraiser at Burbank's DeBell Golf Club on Saturday, September 10, 2016. The event will feature team challenges, competitive activities to raise funds for the APTF, and a closing awards presentation. 

To learn more about the Tournament, please click here

APTF Recieves Contribution during 2015 Annual Rail Conference


Bonnie Shepherd, member, APTF Board of Directors, accepts $1,000 contributions from representatives​ of Lea+Elliott, David Evans and Associates Inc., and Hill International Inc. during their annual reception during APTA's Rail Conference in June of 2015. 


The APTF Exceeds its Goal of $100,000 for ADA 25th Anniversary Scholarship

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) the APTF has exceeded its goal to raise $100,000.
The scholarship will support a student in an undergraduate or graduate academic discipline who expresses an interest in working to enhance accessible public transportation.
APTF announced the scholarship during the recent APTA Annual Meeting & EXPO. ALSTOM, New Flyer, Keolis, SPX Genfare, Wabtec, LTK Engineering Services, TransitConsult LLC, CAF USA Inc., and Kawasaki Rail Car Inc. have pledged financial support for the scholarship, as have a number of generous individuals. To date, APTF leaders have raised more than $40,000 to establish this named scholarship.
Former APTF Chair Bonnie Shepherd launched the scholarship when she appointed a task force to explore initiatives to commemorate the ADA’s anniversary, which is July 26. The task force is chaired by APTF Board Member Jill Chen Stober and includes Hugh A. Mose, fellow board member, and former APTF scholarship recipient David Ledwitz.
Under the leadership of current APTF Chair Huelon A. Harrison, the task force named a steering committee to take the lead on soliciting donations. Members include longtime industry leaders Shirley A. DeLibero, Kim R. Green, William Millar, Robert H. Prince Jr., Michael J. Scanlon, Beverly A. Scott, Charles Wochele, and Ron Brooks, vice chair, APTA Access Committee, and accessibility advocate Christopher Hart.
The foundation will present the scholarship for the first time during the 2015 APTA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Oct. 4-7, to coincide with other events to ­celebrate the ADA anniversary.

2014 APTF Scholarship Recipients

leadership apta aptf.JPG 

The American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) presented scholarships to 20 recipients in Houston, TX as part of the 2014 American Public Transportation Association Annual Meeting & EXPO.  This session was exciting as well as engaging for our scholarship winners as they led discussions on how to recruit young professionals into the public transportation industry to foster a talented and dedicated workforce.

APTA Chair Addresses 2014 Scholarship Recipients

aptf scholars.JPG 

APTA's 2014-2015 chair Phil Washington addressing the 2014 scholarship recipients at APTA's Annual Meeting.

 The APTF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the professional development, training, education, and achievement of students and professionals pursuing careers in public transportation. Proceeds of these events benefit the APTF scholarship fund.

American Public Transportation Foundation
1300 I Street NW
Suite 1200 East
Washington, DC 20005


Phone: 202.496.4818