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APTF Establishes Nathaniel Ford Scholarship

The American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) Board of Directors has announced the establishment of the Nathaniel Ford Scholarship. The scholarship was unanimously approved by the Board of Directors on October 8, 2017 at its meeting held in conjunction with the APTA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Atlanta, GA. Photo Oct 08, 8 23 44 PM.jpg
This scholarship was funded by an enormously successful fundraising reception, held in honor of APTA’s 2017-2018 Chair, Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. During the reception Mr. Ford thanked those in attendance for their generosity and announced the creation of a scholarship to honor his father, Nathaniel Ford. He recognized his father as his most influential mentor and stated that “his guidance and support helped me as a leader at various agencies. It helped me recognize just how important our customers are. How critical public transit is to our nation’s communities. And how crucial it is to embrace change.” APTA Chair Ford’s father is a respected member of the transit community, serving  for over 40 years at the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 
(​APTA 2017-18 Chair Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel Ford, 
and ​​Jannet Walker-Ford at the fundraising​ reception​)
The Nathaniel Ford Scholarship will be awarded for the first time in 2018 to a minority applicant pursuing studies in the fields of Mobility, Logistic Management, Innovation Management and/or Science Technology, with the intent to pursue a career in public transportation. APTF Board Chair, Hugh Mose, recognized Nathaniel P. Ford Sr​, who has been a longtime supporter of the APTF, and said “the Foundation is grateful to him for championing the fundraiser and the APTF board looks forward to awarding the Nathaniel Ford Scholarship in 2018, the Foundation’s 30th year.”

The fundraising reception raised more than $120,000, which included $75,000 in corporate sponsorships. An additional $46,000 was raised through 160 individual contributions, made by those who attended the reception held on the evening of October 8 in Atlanta, GA. 

The APTF Board would like to thank the following organizations, who sponsored the fundraising reception: ​


APTF Awards Record Amount of Scholarship Funds​ 

​At a ceremony held on October 10 at the APTA Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA, the American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) awarded $149,000 in scholarship funds—a record amount of funds dispersed—to 29 students and public transit professionals.
Since the APTF was created in 1988, the foundation has awarded over $1,000,000 dollars in scholarships to more than 300 scholars pursuing careers in public transportation. This year the APTF board of directors also awarded six single-year scholarships, in addition to the named scholarships. Single-year scholarships are unique for the foundation because they are non-endowed, titled scholarships that are created and awarded in the same year. The six scholarships that were awarded this year were the Dora M. Boswell and John K. Reimer Scholarship, the Mineta Transportation Institute/American Public Transportation Foundation Joint Scholarship, three Leadership APTA Class of 2017 Scholarships and the Cubic Transportation Systems Inc. Scholarship. 

Please visit the Current Scholars page​ to see the 2017 APTF Scholarship Recipients

 ​APTF 2017 - What's Next:


​The American Public Transportation Foundation made great strides in 2016, and with your help, we are well on our way to making 2017 even more successful.  Examples of the progress being made this year include:

  • Fully funding the James Cowen Scholarship. As a result of the hard work and personal commitment of APTF Board Member Rick Simonetta, the Cowen Scholarship is now fully funded, which will allow the first scholarship bearing his name to be awarded this October.
  • Awarding our first Single-Year Scholarships. Thanks to the generosity of the Leadership APTA Class of 2017, we will be able to award single-year scholarships named in honor of Joe Niegoski, long-time Program Manager; the Leadership APTA Committee; and the Class of 2017 itself.
  • Establishing our first University Partner Scholarship.  Implementing the suggestion made several years ago by Board Member Alan Wulkan, APTF will join forces with the Mineta Institute to offer at least one scholarship that is jointly funded by the Foundation and the Institute.
  • Developing a new Strategic Plan. Building on the work done three years ago by Barbara Gannon, Crystal Lyons, the New Initiatives Committee, under the leadership of Board Member Anne Louise Rice, is working hard to complete the Foundation’s first true Strategic Plan.

Please consider contributing to the Foundation so that we can continue to fulfill our 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 – our future leaders.


​​2016 AP​TF Scholars Celebrated at the APTA Annual Meeting



On September 13, the APTF presented scholarships to the 27 scholars at the 2016 APTA Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, CA. A total of $130,000 in academic scholarships was awarded, the highest amount in the history of the Foundation.


​At the ceremony the APTF recognized the recipients of the inaugural Valarie J. McCall and Bombardier scholarships:


Golda Speyer is the recipient of the Valarie J. McCall scholarship and is sponsored by the National Transit Institute at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Golda will use the scholarship to assist her as she completes her Master's Degree in transportation planning while working full-time in a local planning agency. She hopes pursue a career as a transportation land use planner.

(Pictured left to right: APTA President and CEO, Dick White, APTF Board Chair, Jennifer Mitchell, Golda Speyer, APTA Immediate Past Chair, Valarie McCall, Paul Larrousse, APTA Chair, Doran Barnes)​​​​​​​


Coleman_Cristal.jpgCristal Coleman is the recipient of the Bombardier Scholarship and is sponsored by HDR. Cristal is thankful to Bombardier and the APTF for providing the scholarship, which will help her as she works to complete her degree in Construction Management at the University of the District of Columbia.


The APTF also offered a one-time scholarship in 2016 in the name of Clarence “Cal” Marsella. As General Manager at RTD in Denver, Cal championed and directed FasTracks, a project nationally recognized for its innovation and vision. APTA recognized his outstanding work by naming him Outstanding Public Transportation Manager in 2006. The scholarship offered in Cal’s name was made possible by his family and his wife Sheri, who requested that donations be made in his memory to the foundation.  

Jacob Neu is the recipient of the Cal Marsell​a scholarship and is sponsored by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. As a veteran, Jacob is honored to receive the scholarship in Cal’s name, which will help him as he completes his degree in Civil Engineering​.


See the full list of 2016 APTF Scholars 

 ​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
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Phone: 202.496.4818