Grand Rapids Firm Creates Scholarship to Honor Employee’s Legacy of Social Impact

Grand Rapids tech company Carnevale partnered with the Grand Rapids Community Foundation to endow a scholarship for students in STEAM programs in memory of the late Nika Marie Price (pictured) who died on Aug. 3 2022 at 30 years old. (Photo provided to MLive by Leigh Ann Cobb)Leigh Ann Cobb Photography

In recognition of Price’s memory as a fervent supporter of youth and social justice, the Nika Marie Price scholarship was established this year. The Grand Rapids Community Foundation has established the scholarship, which will be awarded to one student pursuing a career in a STEAM field—science, technology, engineering, art, or math.


Lydia Kauffman, a longtime friend and colleague, called Price a “powerhouse” and a “force to be reckoned with,” citing her work with organizations such as Girls on the Run, The Boys & Girls Club, and The Wellhouse as examples of her commitment to justice.


In 2018, Price landed her dream job at Grand Rapids tech company Carnevale, alongside Kauffman.

In her role as director of social impact, she improved Carnevale’s co-op program by formalizing procedures to provide financial support, provide opportunities for underrepresented groups to pursue careers in technology, engage with local organizations, and create digital services for nonprofits at little or no cost.


Price, 30, passed away on August 3, 2022, following a four-year battle with cancer. In recognition of Price’s efforts to promote educational equity, Carnevale established the Nika Marie Social Impact Scholarship Fund.


The scholarship will be endowed by the Grand Rapids Community Foundation to carry on Price’s memory forever. Through the general scholarship application on GRCF, students in Kent County can apply and be considered for over 80 need-based scholarship grants.

“She would have been really, really proud and happy,” Kauffman said of the scholarship. “She’s not a boastful person. She did everything that she did because she knew it was right and she didn’t ever need the accolades for it. She would be proud, and maybe blushing a little bit.”

In the dorms at Grand Valley State University, Kauffman and Price first became together. Their shared experience of being biracial in predominantly white environments caused them to quickly click. Their deeper chats about accepting their identity as Black women and each other’s sass provided them with comfort.


Price had a passion for assisting young people, particularly those of race, as she was up in largely white Fowlerville and had a role model for her younger siblings, according to Kauffman.


Kauffman stated that the ideal scholarship candidate would have a similar enthusiasm for social impact. Price is no longer with Carnevale as director of social impact; Kauffman has replaced her.

“We just hope that it gets into the hands of someone who is going to move forward in the world and make change the way that Nika did,” Kauffman said.

Any student in Kent County is eligible to apply to the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. The period for applications is December 1 through March 1. Decisions will be sent by email to all candidates within the second week of May.


Need-based scholarships are given out by the GRCF, which also requests financial disclosure via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students can self-disclose their finances on the application if they are unable to apply through the FAFSA.


The charity granted 444 scholarships in the previous year. About thirty of them, according to Ruth Bishop, the foundation’s education program officer, won many awards.

Bishop encourages students to apply every year as the foundation takes into consideration those already in college and those who have received awards in the past.

The ideal candidates for the Nika Marie Price scholarship is a student entering their second year or more in higher education who has already demonstrated their path into a STEAM field.

The first recipient of the Nika Marie Price scholarship is expected to receive $1,700. Through endowment interest, investment and donations the company hopes to see that award money grow with time, Kauffman said. Individuals can donate to the scholarship at

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