Smart Financial Foundation Awards 2023 Scholarships

HOUSTON (July 26, 2023) – Smart Financial Foundation has awarded three $5,000 Ruby Sue Clifton Scholarships for 2023 to Houston area high school seniors after a record number of applicants submitted application for consideration. The Ruby Sue Clifton scholarships were created 10 years ago in honor of longstanding Smart Financial board member Ruby Sue Clifton, who championed education throughout her career and time with Smart Financial. For the past 15 years Smart Financial Credit Union has awarded scholarships through the Ruby Sue Clifton Scholarship Fund. This scholarship fund was named in honor of one of our past Chairmen, Ruby Sue Clifton. Her help and guidance within the credit union and the educational community was extraordinary. To date, the Ruby Sue Clifton Scholarship Fund has given out over $275,000 in scholarships to graduating high school students within the school districts that we serve. The scholarship applications are open to members of Smart Financial and their families.

Each applicant must submit an application which outlines their academic and community achievements and then are required to write an essay on one of three topics, Credit Unions have a philosophy of “People Helping People” Community Enrichment. How will your college education and experience help make you a better member of your community? “As a credit union member, explain why someone should choose a credit union as their primary financial institution over alternative service providers, such as for-profit banks. Credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions whose purpose is to serve its members. How can Smart Financial better appeal to and serve its Gen Z (born between 1981 and 1996) existing and potential members?

A committee consisting of Smart Financial Board Members reviewed all candidates and assigned scores based on set criteria. With so many fantastic applicants, choosing the three winners was an extremely competitive process.

“The work we do through our foundation could not get done without the time given by our Foundation Board members and the generosity of our employees participating in our employee giving campaign,” said Shana Scott - Executive Director, Smart Financial Foundation.

The three winners and all applicants were invited to an awards celebration at the Smart Financial offices on June 21st. Employees and management of Smart Financial were on hand to congratulate all applicants and share the values of education that are a foundation of Smart Financial. The three winners are:


Jasmine Benau

Jasmine Benau – Mayde Creek High School
“I have worked hard and followed the "blueprint" to be successful throughout my school career to ensure my success and winning this scholarship makes me feel like all of my hard work and determination actually paid off. My skills, uniqueness as an individual, and the funds provided by this scholarship will continue to nurture the qualities that I will need to ensure that I become successful, and I am forever grateful to Smart Financial Credit Union for that.”
Jasmine will attend The University of Texas at Austin, Canfield Business Honors Program majoring in Finance with a minor in Management Information Systems.


Addison Roden

Addison Roden – Magnolia West High School
“I am honored to receive this scholarship, and I am very thankful for the opportunities it provides. I am grateful to be connected to such a great credit union that supports my future.”
Addison Roden will attend Howard Payne University majoring in Finance and playing collegiate volleyball.


Brooke Franklin

Brooke Franklin – Westbury High School
“I appreciate winning this scholarship so much! It will allow me to be able to go to school without worrying about finances.”
Brooke Franklin will attend Fisk University majoring in Criminal Justice with a focus in Forensic Science.



The Smart Financial Foundation was formed in 2013 to provide both financial and volunteer assistance to Houston area charitable organizations and promote education through the Ruby Sue Clifton Scholarships. The Foundation’s mission is “To Change Lives, Improve Communities, and Achieve Dreams. The foundation has awarded more than $275,000 in scholarships and has assisted countless area charities including Houston Children’s Charity, CHRISTUS Foundation, Child Advocated of Fort Bend, Habitat For Humanity, Susan G. Komen, Memorial Hermann Foundation and many more. The Foundation raises money through Smart Financial employee donations and fundraisers such as the Smart Financial Foundation Scholarship Golf Tournament and the Fall Fundraiser Series. To learn more visit


Media Contacts:

Andrew Huang
Smart Financial Credit Union
o: 713.407.1833 |

Corbin Wilson
Smart Financial Credit Union
o: 713.407.1913 |