Nancy W. Jencks Fund
More than five decades ago, Nancy (White) Jencks and a friend, Rita Beaver, founded the Barrington Citizens Scholarship Fund. In a 2000 interview with the Foundation, Nancy, who died in November 2016 at age 94, explained, “(We) decided that the athletes in the local high school were receiving all the attention and glory while the ‘smart ones’ did not seem to get much recognition.”
The fund has changed – and grown – since it was founded in 1959 and today awards scholarships as the re-named Community Scholarship Fund of Barrington. The fund’s website notes that it is “the oldest community-based scholarship organization in Rhode Island and the second oldest in the country (and) has awarded over 1,000 scholarships to Barrington students.”
It is that fund, as well as Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island, that will receive support in perpetuity as Nancy directed through plans she made with the Rhode Island Foundation in 1992.
Nancy grew up in Providence and attended Smith College. After graduating, she worked as a draftsperson in the family foundry business, JS White Company, started by her great-grandfather in 1847. Eventually, she went on to become a stockbroker, working first at Brown, Lisle and Marshall and later at Tucker Anthony.
The mother of four sons and “mother” to many other children, Nancy also was active in the community. She was a member of the Barrington Congregational Church, where she served on the finance committee, and was an active board member of the Barrington District Nurse Association and Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island. Her Providence Journal obituary notes that she was also “an avid and talented sailor (who) competed in the ‘Tuesday Night Tired Fathers Series’ at Barrington Yacht Club.”