The Public Education Foundation (The Foundation) is pleased to announce a new “Children of the 58 Scholarship Fund” created in partnership with the family of Neysa Tonks, who tragically lost her life on 1 October.

Neysa’s parents, Chris and Debbie Davis, and sister, Mynda Smith, received support from around the country to establish the scholarship for dependents of the 58 people who died on October 1, 2017.

Neysa did not attend college herself, but she was passionate about ensuring her children studied hard, earned good grades and put college in their plans.

The family of Neysa Tonks issued the following statement regarding this new scholarship:

“As we approach the third anniversary of this 1 October massacre, our hearts are so heavy at the loss of our mom, our daughter, our sister, our aunt, along with the losses of the other families of the children of the 58 that devastating night.

“It was our honor to create the ‘Children of the 58 Scholarship Fund.’ In doing so, we created a plan of looking beyond our own grief to help the young children who had lost so much, needed to heal and needed to find their own bright future. In helping them, we found healing for ourselves. It’s our sincere hope these 55 children will feel our love and support as they grow through their education. So far, six children are now pursuing their higher education due to the generosity of caring donors to the ‘Children of the 58 Scholarship Fund.’

“As the remainder of the children of the 58 come of age they, too, will be able to help further their education with this scholarship. In spite of this everlasting loss, it’s so inspiring to see these fine young adults embrace their education with a positive step towards their future. We are proud of their courage and their strength to keep their parents’ light shining brightly, as well as their own.”

As of September 2020, approximately $320,000 has been raised, and 55 dependents have been identified as eligible for the scholarship. This is the first year the scholarship will be awarded, and The Foundation is currently working with six college-age students who are utilizing the funds for the current school year, totaling $28,055.

The Foundation will continue to administer the scholarship until every dependent has turned 25 years old.

“It is heartening to know that so many people throughout our community – and our nation – contributed to this scholarship fund to honor the memory of Neysa Tonks and others who lost their lives,” said Judi Steele, Founder and CEO of The Public Education Foundation. “The Public Education Foundation is proud to help administer this scholarship and provide a brighter future for the children most impacted by this tragedy.”

Those wishing to support the Children of the 58 Scholarship Fund can make a donation at