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Monday, October 22, 2018

St. Louis Janitor Who Started Scholarship Gets a Plug from Steve Harvey

Posted By on Mon, Oct 22, 2018 at 6:23 AM

click to enlarge George Love, left, with TV star Steve Harvey. - COURTESY OF GEORGE LOVE
  • COURTESY OF GEORGE LOVE
  • George Love, left, with TV star Steve Harvey.
Earlier this year, the RFT wrote about George Love, a custodian at Vashon High School who'd started a scholarship fund. Despite making just $12 a hour, Love had saved up enough money to give out four $500 scholarships each year to students graduating Vashon, one of St. Louis' most troubled public high schools.

That one short story, Love says, led to some huge payoffs.



First, he heard from the Steward Family Foundation, which was begun by St. Louis resident David Steward, who founded World Wide Technology in 1990 and has grown it into one of the nation's largest privately held companies. Love says the foundation asked him to fill out some paperwork — and then gave his 501(c)3 $10,000 to use toward scholarships.

And then he heard from Steve Harvey.

"I was at school a month ago," he recalls, "and I was called to come to the office." They told him Steve Harvey was on the phone, and when Love picked up, the familiar voice told him, "I've been trying to reach you for close to two months!"

The TV host flew Love to Hollywood ("first class," Love exults), put him up at a hotel, and featured him in an episode of Steve that aired last month. On stage, they reconnected him with several past winners of the Dorothy Mae Walker-Love Scholarship.

"They brought out these kids, and man, it broke me down," says Love, who is also a pastor. "It was so incredible, it really ministered to me."

click to enlarge Love, left, hugs a past scholarship winner. - COURTESY OF GEORGE LOVE
  • COURTESY OF GEORGE LOVE
  • Love, left, hugs a past scholarship winner.

And then they gave him some money — $5,000 for the organization, and $5,000 for himself.

Thanks in part to those successes, as well as a GoFundMe, Love is now increasing the scholarships he'll give out this spring, going from simply awarding students at Vashon to winners at ten local public high schools.

He's looking not for students with the highest scores, but students who've shown the most improvement. "They lack so much," he says. "We're trying to find a way to impact them."

And as for the money awarded to him personally, Love has an easy answer for what he intends to spend it on. "Bills," he says simply.



We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at sarah.fenske@riverfronttimes.com

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