Donor Spotlight: Bertha Black Rhoda

Bertha Black Rhoda was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1898. She received her undergraduate degree from Indiana Normal School and went on to earn her Master’s Degree from the University of Illinois. She did additional graduate studies at the University of Michigan, Washington University and Saint Louis University.

Rhoda was a life member of the National Council of Negro Women; the St. Louis affiliate is known as the “Bertha Black Rhoda Section.” She was active in the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, Church Women United, Women’s Crusade Against Crime, as well as many other groups. Rhoda received many awards in her lifetime including the 1969 Globe Democrat Woman of Achievement Award, 1969 Distinguished Alumni Award from Indiana State University, and the 1973 National Volunteer Award from President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Rhoda taught at Vashon High School in St. Louis for many years and was known for her exceptional success with students who had special learning needs. Although she retired from teaching in 1975, she continues to help educate St. Louis area young people. How? A scholarship created and named for her at the St. Louis Community Foundation by her husband William. Since 2001 her fund, the William C. and Bertha Black Rhoda Scholarship Fund, has helped 22 students with college expenses by awarding scholarships totaling $95,500.

Learn more about the impact of Bertha Black Rhoda has had on Shawn Williams, Bertha Black Rhoda Scholarship recipient: 

Interested in starting a scholarship fund, contact Ellen Vietor, Scholarship Manager at