ELKO —- Barrick Gold signed a 10-year extension agreement with the Western Shoshone Scholarship Foundation on March 12 at a ceremony attended by company executives and the WSSF board of directors and tribal leaders from eight partnering Western Shoshone communities.
“Barrick believes in the power of education to transform lives and communities,” said Barrick CEO Mark Bristow. “The scholarship program is an example of how we invest in education to build a diverse pipeline of future talent, and extending the WSSF partnership agreement for an additional 10 years will help the tribal communities advance an entire generation.”
Tribes represented include the Duck Valley Western Shoshone Paiute Tribe; Duckwater Shoshone Tribe; Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone and its Elko, South Fork and Wells Bands; Ely Shoshone Tribe; and Yomba Shoshone Tribe.
The extension includes a 10-year commitment by Barrick to fund the WSSF at $1.3 million per year, an investment which a press release says “will allow the foundation to plan for long-term sustainability and to support qualified scholarship recipients now and for decades to come.”
Barrick signed a collaborative agreement with the Tribal and Band Councils of the eight Western Shoshone partner communities in 2008, establishing the WSSF and outlining Barrick’s commitment to long-term higher education funding for tribal members. Since its inaugural year, the foundation has funded more than 1,600 higher education scholarships for Western Shoshone tribal members totaling nearly $3.5 million.
The program has also expanded to include the WSSF Alumni Association, established in 2018 to create a network for all scholarship recipients beyond graduation. The Alumni Association will also help the WSSF and Barrick understand outcomes and impacts of the scholarship on recipients and the partner Western Shoshone communities in planning for continuous improvement.
“The extension of funding for the WSSF is an example of a strategic long-term investment that has helped many tribal members achieve educational and professional growth and will continue to build capacity for our communities and for Barrick,” said Alice Tybo, vice president of the Western Shoshone Scholarship Foundation Board.
“Learning about the WSSF helped me make a critical choice to leave the reservation and pursue my higher education,” said Aric Harney, a Western Shoshone tribal member who has earned associate degrees in arts and science and a bachelor’s degree in arts from Great Basin College. “This scholarship was influential in my decision to pursue college after high school and was crucial to my academic success. I am grateful for the opportunity I was given and I would like to thank Barrick for establishing this scholarship.”
For more information about Barrick Native American Affairs or the Western Shoshone Scholarship Foundation, visit www.barrick.com.