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The James A. Smith Postmaster Scholarship Foundation
By Sentinel News Service
Published September 29, 2011

James Smith, the man behind the foundation

A potential scholarship recipient, now starting the race. Photo by Jason Lewis

Annual fundraiser supports higher education initiatives in underserved communities

The James A. Smith Postmaster Scholarships (JASPS) Foundation provides scholarships to African-American college bound high school students, as well as continuing college students from under-served communities, to assist them with support of their educational objectives. Awards are granted to individual students who participate in a variety of organizations. The candidates will be selected from the general student population and the primary criteria will focus upon the following: enrollment in or admission to college; academic performance; a commitment to enhancing the local and global community; and substantial evidence of a self-initiated motivation to succeed. Based in Los Angeles, CA, the JASPS Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization, 501(c) (3).

Founded in 2010 by former United States Postal Service (USPS) Postmaster of Los Angeles, James A. Smith, the foundation aims to be the voice of advocacy, change and opportunity for African American youth with aspirations of higher education.

“What separates the Postmaster Scholarship Foundation from the rest is that it relies on community involvement, and the impact of the effort is seen and felt throughout,” says Smith, Chairman of the JASPS Foundation.

The successful inaugural event was attended by nearly 200 guests, including several community leaders and some of LA’s most notable residents. Last year’s guests included Attorney General Kamala Harris, City Councilman Bernard Parks, County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, and KTLA News Anchor and the event’s Master of Ceremonies Chris Schauble, alongside many more. Eager to continue the momentum of community involvement, the Foundation committed to hosting the 2nd Annual Jazz on the Hilltop garden party at a private residence in the scenic View Park Area.

The foundation is also committed to creating access to higher education by providing scholarships to deserving youth in our community. The proceeds from the ticket sales will go directly to our newly established scholarship fund. We will be announcing an exciting new partnership with UCLA’s Black Alumni, as we support and encourage young people in our community who aspire to attend UCLA, to get a great start for their future.

Each year the JASPS Foundation awards a four-year scholarship to a deserving student selected through a competitive selection process. The Foundation partnered with the UCLA Black Alumni Association in 2010 for a 3-year commitment in support of their Legacy Scholarship Campaign. Through this combined effort, a total of $120,000 in scholarship monies is anticipated to be gifted. The Foundation’s commitment is to establish 75 new scholarships and thereby distribute a minimum of $100,000 per year for the next ten years.

The JASPS Foundation will host the 2nd Annual Jazz on the Hilltop garden party and fundraiser on October 16, 2011. Guests will dine and enjoy the hill top views of the city while being entertained with the Afro-Cuban sounds of the internationally acclaimed, Hamid Cooper’s Latin Jazz Band. Proceeds from the annual event support the foundation’s efforts to provide scholarships to college-bound African American students from underserved communities in Los Angeles.

The Foundation’s 2010 scholarship recipient, Ezinna Nnabue, was awarded a full four-year scholarship to the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) where he is currently majoring in English with plans to study medicine. This year’s scholarship recipient, Briana Weaver, will also be attending UCLA at the young age of 16, with plans to major in Cultural Anthropology and Communication and later attend law school.

Smith is the driving force behind this endeavor and it is important to know a little bit of his history. Smith was appointed the 39th postmaster of Los Angeles on August 11, 2001. In this position he was responsible for the management of 125 classified stations and branches in Los Angeles and South Bay. He was also responsible for supervising, through subordinate managers, of 4,000 employees who handle 900,000 daily deliveries to four million residents and 100,000 businesses.

At the time of his retirement, he was responsible for the management of 125 classified stations and branches in Los Angeles and the South Bay, including the supervision of 4,000 employees, handling 900,000 daily deliveries to four million residents and 100,000 businesses in a 540 square mile area. He also planned and managed an annual budget exceeding $400 million.

“My focus has been to exceed customers’ expectations.” Smith said before announcing his retirement. “I wanted to make it easy for our customers to do business with us and believe that part of good service is having access to not only postal products and services but also to postal employees, craft, and management.” Smith described. “We wanted to hear about postal issues and concerns because they give us the opportunity to improve our service.”

Tickets are $60.00. To purchase tickets call (213) 986-5277 or contact Warren Bell at

For more information visit

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