The 4 Little Girls Memorial Fund was created in 1983 as a living legacy to the memory of Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley, the four little girls whose promising young lives were extinguished in an instant in the heinous bombing of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on September 15th, 1963. Addie Mae, Carole and Cynthia were only 14 when they died and Denise was but 11. Through the 4 Little Girls Memorial Fund, the light of their being still burns brightly.
Established by AmSouth Bank (now Regions) and The Birmingham News as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the 4 Little Girls Memorial Fund has awarded more than $250,000 in scholarships over the past thirty years to 69 exceptional students. The first grants were made for the 1984-85 school year.
By raising funds and awarding scholarships annually, the 4 Little Girls Fund helps deserving students fulfill their dream of getting a college education – an opportunity tragically swept away from Addie Mae, Denise, Carole and Cynthia in 1963.
The goal of this college scholarship fund is simple and straightforward – that from the ashes of hatred and destruction might come tolerance, understanding and unity modeled in lives of meaningful service to Birmingham and the world.
Girls represented by their parents
Addie Mae, Denise, Carole and Cynthia were each represented by one of their parents on the initial board of trustees of the 4 Little Girls Fund (originally known as the Memorial Fund for the Four Children). These parents, who suffered the greatest loss because of the cataclysmic tragedy on September 15,1963, gave their imprimatur to the mission of the Fund as a living legacy to the memory of their beloved daughters.