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Sports Backers Blog

Sports Backers Announce New Scholarships to Honor Cheryl Oliver, Ray Patterson

RICHMOND, VA – In an effort to further assist deserving high school student-athletes in the Richmond area in achieving their higher education goals, Sports Backers is announcing the creation of two new $2,500 scholarships. The Cheryl Lockett Oliver Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to one college-bound senior female, and the Raymond Delaware Patterson Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to one college-bound senior male. The online application for the scholarships is now open and the deadline to apply is April 30, 2018.

Cheryl Oliver

In her time at Sports Backers, Cheryl Oliver worked tirelessly to expand the organization’s reach into underserved communities by focusing on bringing physical activity opportunities to all residents, particularly Richmond’s most vulnerable youth. An avid runner, Oliver was a member of numerous local running groups, including Black Girls Run! and the Church Hill Crushers. She passed away in spring of 2014 after battling cancer, and Sports Backers aims to honor her life by providing scholarships to the next generation of female leaders in Richmond.

Ray Patterson

In his 10 years with Sports Backers, Ray Patterson greatly strengthened community connections, expanding the organization’s mission of inspiring active living to all corners of the Richmond region. Patterson saw the promise in all of Richmond’s youth and was a dedicated advocate for the creation of physical activity and educational opportunities. He passed away in August 2016 after a brief battle with cancer, and this new scholarship will help honor his commitment to building strong communities.

“Ray Patterson and Cheryl Oliver were beloved colleagues and were dedicated to our mission of building active communities and encouraging active living,” said Jon Lugbill, Executive Director of Sports Backers. “These new scholarships will help us continue their work and honor their legacies by supporting future community leaders.”

Candidates under consideration for the Cheryl Lockett Oliver and Raymond Delaware Patterson scholarships will be senior student-athletes who have achieved a minimum GPA of 2.5 and are in need of financial assistance to pursue a college education. The new awards will be in addition to the existing 20 annual scholarships offered through the Richmond Times-Dispatch/Sports Backers Scholar-Athlete Awards Program, now celebrating its 27th year.

Cheryl Lockett Oliver & Raymond Delaware Patterson Memorial Scholarship Eligibility Criteria:

  • College-bound high school senior and student-athlete in the Richmond MSA
  • Demonstrated financial need as evidenced by FAFSA EFC score and completion of a short essay
  • Minimum GPA of 2.5

In addition to completing and submitting the online application at by April 30, interested applicants must provide a copy of their Student Aid Report (SAR), which is received after submission of the FAFSA form. Winners will be notified by May 15th and formally recognized at the annual Richmond Times-Dispatch/Sports Backers Scholar-Athlete Awards Dinner, taking place on June 4th, 2018. Please contact Faith Hecht at [email protected] or at (804) 285-9495 x243 with any questions or for more information.