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St. Mary's says largest single donation will fund scholarships

St. Mary's Academy in Portland has received a $2 million gift from Mary and Mark Stevens to establish an endowed scholarship in honor of Mary's mother, Virginia Mathews.

It’s the largest single private individual gift in the school’s 153-year history.

The Virginia Mathews Endowed Scholarship will provide tuition assistance to help make the same educational experience enjoyed by both Mary Stevens, a class of 1980 alumna, and her sister, class of 1985 alumna Molly Bjorklund, accessible to young women whose families require a helping hand.

“We are deeply grateful to Mary and Mark for this remarkable gift, and for the way they have championed one of the school's highest priorities. This extremely generous gift helps safeguard our commitment to keeping a St. Mary's education accessible. It truly helps to secure the future of our school, and we are inspired that it pays tribute to such a wonderful woman,” said St. Mary's Academy President Christina Friedhoff.

Mary Stevens worked in the commercial real estate industry for 14 years. Mark Stevens is the managing partner of S-Cubed Capital and special limited partner and former managing partner at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital. The couple was inspired to make this historic gift after Mary attended the 19th Annual St. Mary's Academy Food for Thought Tuition Assistance Luncheon this fall and heard current students and alumnae speak of their gratitude for the financial aid that made their dreams of a St. Mary's education a reality.

“Knowing that there are choices in Portland for private education, I want St. Mary's Academy to be an affordable option for the brightest candidates who will go on to do great things and remember that they had been helped and will give back once they can,” Mary Stevens said. “It is also important to me that St. Mary's remains a financially secure single-gender school.”

This gift is intended to help middle-income families and will allow the school to provide aid to more students.