From Tragedy, A Legacy Continues. Foundation Names Scholarship Recipient in Memory of Terrorist Victim.

Northern NJ Community Foundation Names 2019 Scholarship Recipient in Remembrance of Terrorist Victim Darren Drake of New Milford.
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Kristen Wilkens
Barbara Drake, mother of the late Darren Drake, congratulates Leanna Akguc on receiving the 2019 Northern New Jersey Community Foundation's Darren Drake Memorial Fund's scholarship.

(Bergen County, New Jersey; June 25, 2019) — The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation's (NNJCF) Darren Drake Memorial Fund names New Milford High School graduate Leanna Akguc the second recipient of a $2,000 scholarship award. This NNJCF charitable, donor advised fund memorializes New Milford High School graduate Darren Drake, who died in a terrorist attack in New York City on October 31, 2017.   

The scholarship award is given to qualified students seeking to pursue a trade or technical career. Akguc, an honor roll student, was selected for achieving good grades in high school and her involvement in the community. Among her activities, she painted sets for the high school's musicals and volunteered on projects in school, at her church, and with the Art Center of Northern New Jersey. During high school, she was also a member of the National Art Honor Society, Yearbook Club and Mural Club. Akguc received awards for her artwork at Teen Arts, Music Inspired Art and the Montclair Art Museum. She plans to attend Capri Institute in Paramus, New Jersey and pursue a career in cosmetology.

The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation's Darren Drake Memorial Fund perpetuates Darren Drake's legacy. Drake, who served on the New Milford Board of Education, identified the need to meet a shortage of skilled labor in the trade and technical professions by preparing high school students interested in pursuing vocational careers. Career opportunities are available in the trade and technical professions.

Continue Darren Drake's Legacy

The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation's Darren Drake Memorial Fund awards an annual scholarship to a graduating senior of New Milford High School to pursue training in the trade or technical professions. The public continues Darren Drake's commitment to education and his legacy with a donation in his memory. In remembrance of Drake, and as a lasting tribute to his lifelong love of and commitment to education, Moody Foundation provided the principal gift to establish the fund, which will be administered by his parents.

Donations are tax-deductible, as permitted by law, and may be made online at Contributions may also be sent by check made out to 'The Northern N.J. Community Foundation' with 'Darren Drake Memorial Fund' entered in the memo line. Send checks to the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, 1 University Plaza, Suite 128, Hackensack, New Jersey 07601.  

For further information about the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, contact or call 201-568-5608.


Founded in 1998, the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF), a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization based in Hackensack, New Jersey, focuses primarily on civic engagement, education, public health, the environment, philanthropy, and the arts. The NNJCF works with local governments, school districts, businesses, non-profit organizations, and citizen groups in Northern New Jersey to improve community life. The Foundation's partners identify and resolve regional problems and opportunities by talking and learning from each other and sharing ideas, best practices, services, and resources. 

For more information, visit, send an email to, or call (201) 568-5608. Follow the NNJCF on Facebook at Northern NJ Community Foundation/ArtsBergen and Twitter @NNJCF.

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