The Bobby Edd Penson Fund

Financial assistance for post-secondary education students in foster care, or aged out of foster care in Arizona, ages 18 years through the student’s 21st birthday.

The AFFCF Penson Fund is designed to help post-secondary education students who have aged out of foster care overcome emergency expenses that derail their education. These funds are not intended to be used for long-term, ongoing expenses.

The AFFCF Penson Fund is designed to help young men and women who have aged out of foster care overcome emergency expenses that derail their education. These funds are not intended to be used for long-term, ongoing expenses.

Eligibility Requirements

To receive assistance through the Penson Fund, youth must be:

  • In foster care or aged out of foster care in Arizona, ages 18 years up until the youth’s 21st birthday
  • Enrolled in college or a vocational program

Current employment is preferred when considering requests.

Students will be asked to provide information about how they are going to sustain the requested funding once it has ended.

Award Limitations

Most award categories will be made one time in a 12-month period. Several award categories are limited to one-time awards. Please see the award guidelines for details. Awards are limited to two requests per quarter.

Funding process

The Penson Fund committee will review requests as they are submitted. All payments are made payable to the vendor or reimbursed for purchases made AFTER the request has been approved. No funds are available for purchases that have been made before an application is submitted and approved.

Typical turnaround time for a Penson Fund Award is 10 days.

Required documentation includes:

  1. Documentation of enrollment in post-secondary college or accredited vocational training program.
  2. Proof of current employment (if applicable)
  3. Completion of the AFFCF budget planner. A new budget is required for each application.
  4. Most recent unofficial transcript if student is already attending a university, college or vocational school at the time of request (determines eligibility only; awards are not based on grades).
  5. Documentation that the student was a ward of the court at age 18.
  6. An explanation of how the student will move forward once the provided award runs out.

Penson Fund Guidelines

Auto Repairs

Tow costs and auto repairs up to $1,000/one time in a 12-month period. Paid by check payable to the vendor.

Books

Up to $500 per semester.* Paid by check payable to the bookstore.

*College students receiving the Pell grant must request their Pell grant book advance prior to the start of the semester with which to purchase textbooks. Students who may make requests to the Penson Fund for textbooks are students who are not Pell-eligible. If you are not aware how to request your Pell grant book advance, please contact Erika Klotz at eklotz@affcf.org for guidance. 

Deposits

Funds for establishing an apartment, including security and utility deposits.* One-time award of maximum up to $1,500Paid by check payable to apartment complex/landlord.

*Students who are receiving the DCS subsidy must request their “Start Up Funds” of $715 from their caseworker for the security deposit. If a student’s security deposit is greater than $715, AFFCF will consider the difference.

Food

Up to $200 per month/one time in a 12-month period. Paid with gift cards.

Gas

Up to $60 per month/one time in a 12-month period. Paid with gift cards.

Rent

Up to $800 for one month/one time in a 12-month period. Paid by check payable to the apartment complex/landlord.

School Supplies/Laptop

Supplies: As needed. Maximum of $500 per school year. Paid by check to vendor.

Laptop:* One-time laptop fees of up to $1,000 (including tax). Paid to vendor. AFFCF will not consider requests for tablets or gaming laptops.

*Community college students who are eligible for Education and Tuition Voucher (ETV) funds must apply for funds for a laptop through ETV. Students can apply for up to $750. This can be done when students apply for ETV or students can contact ETV to update their budget.

Utilities/Internet Service

Up to $250 for one month/one time in a 12-month period. Paid by check payable to the utility company.

Vocational Tuition/Fees

Maximum of $1,000 per semester.

About the Pensons

Bob and Mary Ann Penson learned about AFFCF at a fundraising breakfast back in 2009. Over time, their interest in helping children in foster care, particularly those aging out of care, grew stronger. The idea for the Bobby Edd Penson Award Fund was born of Bob and Mary Ann’s desire to help those youth who aged out of foster care and who are enrolled in a post-secondary education program.

When Bob and Mary Ann met, he worked for Lockheed as an airplane mechanic. They married and moved to California, where Bob joined the sheet metal union as a journeyman and worked for 10 years. The couple bought an awning shop in Lakeport, CA and eventually started building houses. In the last 15 years of his career, Bob was a contractor, buying land, building houses and selling them. Mary Ann was a teacher for many years.

Bob Penson passed away on April 14, 2016.

The Bobby Edd Penson Award Fund was created to help young men and women aging out of foster care find their successful future. The Pensons’ wish is that youth will have the training and support they need to excel in their chosen vocation – CNAs, barbers, nursery schoolteachers, hair stylists and more.

Through the Penson Fund, AFFCF can assist even more youth aging out of foster care to create better futures for themselves. We are grateful to Bob and Mary Ann for their dedication to serving youth in foster care and are proud to share their legacy through this extraordinary gift.