The Joseph M. Kulka Jr. Scholarship for Diversity Leadership

Joseph Michael Kulka Jr., 28, was murdered in a gay hate crime on Feb. 11, 1982.  He was a mental health counseling major, being the first in his extended family to graduate from college.  A native of Sharpsville, Pa., he received his degree from Gannon and was devoted to those with learning disabilities.  He worked at Sunland Center in Orlando at his death.  He was energized when he was with his clients, making them number one in his life. 

In memory of Joseph’s extraordinary gifts, a generous donor has established The Joseph M. Kulka Jr. Scholarship for Diversity Leadership through the LGBT Community Endowment of The Erie Community Foundation.  In 2021, the Scholarship provides a one-time award of $2,000. It recognizes a graduating senior of any Erie County high school pursuing a four-year college program. The successful candidate must demonstrate that he/she has given of their personal lives to improve awareness and understanding of diversity in the Erie County community.  The recipient need not be a member of any particular segment of society, but must demonstrate his/her history of leadership in this area with the expectation that their efforts will continue in college and adult life.  Selection shall be made by the Scholarship Committee of the LGBT Community Endowment Fund, with ratification by Foundation leadership.

Instructions on how to apply for this award, as well as more than 100 other scholarships available through The Erie Community Foundation can be found here:

Those interested in learning more about The LGBT Community Endowment, or about creating a scholarship at the Foundation should contact Susannah Weis Frigon at, or Keely Doyle at