Seth Owen, whose tale of being rejected by his parents started a viral crowdfunding campaign that helped propel him to Georgetown University on a full scholarship, announced he had founded a scholarship foundation to distribute some of the excess money he raised.
"I knew I needed to speak up and do something, thus Unbroken Horizons was born," Owen wrote on a GoFundMe page for the new foundation. The foundation aims to "make it easier for students in all marginalized communities to access post-secondary education and highlight their stories to create awareness around issues within marginalized communities."
Owen told local NBC affiliate First Coast News that he started the Unbroken Horizons to help others like him and to thank supporters for their "incredible generosity to help me achieve my dream of getting to college."
Last year, Owen, a self-described "nerd," was his high school's valedictorian but thought his dreams of going to college had been shattered. His parents, who he said had forced him to leave home because of his sexuality, would not pay for college, and Georgetown, which had accepted him, provided a financial aid package based on his parents' expected contribution.
Then his high school biology teacher created a GoFundMe page to raise tuition for Owen. The page's original fundraising goal was $20,000, but after going viral, it hit a whopping $140,000. Then, when he appeared on the "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," DeGeneres surprised Owen with a $25,000 gift.
But soon after his story went viral, Georgetown revised its decision and decided to award Owen a full scholarship, leaving Owen with money left over.
The Unbroken Horizons Scholarship Foundation will use some of Owen's financial windfall to start awarding scholarships next summer. Owen is raising additional funds for the foundation via a GoFundMe page.
The GoFundMe page states the foundation aims "to provide 5 students with a $2,500 scholarship so that they too can continue to reach their educational goals."
“To whom much is given, much is expected,” Owen wrote on the page, “and I have taken on the responsibility of working to help other young people in similar situations as mine.”