Bobby Kashif Cox Memorial Scholarship


Bobby Kashif Cox

Bobby Kashif Cox was an incredibly gifted storyteller. A lyrical writer with a capacity to capture intimate moments and turn them into poetry. In 2007, a few days before the semester began, Bobby received word that he had been accepted into Columbia University's MFA Film Program, his dream school. While it was only 23 miles away from his home in Far Rockaway, New York, the Morningside campus might as well have been light-years away for a 23-year-old Bobby Kashif Cox. But Bobby wasn't going to let a two-hour subway commute or the cost of tuition stop him from becoming a filmmaker. He had a passion; he had stories that needed telling; he was going to make it happen.

Despite these challenges, Bobby persevered. He was the type of charismatic person you immediately liked—a unique, introspective, kind-hearted man—and he quickly befriended his classmates. He wasn’t afraid to seek out support from faculty and supplement his education to keep up with the rigors of the program. He slept over at the apartments of friends who lived closer to campus and made himself available for shoots to further build camaraderie. When it came to his own screenplays, Bobby infused them with his personal experiences. He used his challenges to fuel a brand of authentic storytelling that reflected the world he knew.

In 2016, he was diagnosed with stage-4 colon cancer—yet another challenge. In all of this, Bobby brought joy to everyone that knew him. His smile was infectious and his honesty was refreshing. He was as committed to service as his artistic endeavors. As a teaching artist, he taught screenwriting and filmmaking to youth throughout New York City right up until he was physically unable to do so. While he never hid his struggles, he never focused on them either. Bobby was tenacious in his pursuit of a creative life no matter the challenge. He inspired us to look within; we hope his legacy will inspire generations of screenwriters to come.

The Memorial Scholarship

Bobby sadly left us at the young age of 33 after a brave battle with cancer. Inspired by what would have been his 38th birthday, his classmates from Columbia University's School of the Arts have started a fundraising campaign to create the Bobby Kashif Cox Memorial Scholarship.

The scholarship aims to provide financial assistance each year to a graduate screenwriting student from a historically underrepresented group in the film and television industry—one who reflects Bobby's humanity, creativity, and desire to push the boundaries of the cinematic arts. We know Bobby had great stories to tell. He has inspired us to create this scholarship in his legacy and to empower others like him to bring their powerful and valuable stories to the world.

The Need

“The shortest distance between truth and a human being is a story” Anthony de Mello

Great storytellers don’t just exist within one demographic. Yet the film industry has existed since its inception as a costly and insular community with many gatekeepers. And for many, the path to film school is out of reach, not to mention a secondary degree from an Ivy League University. Breaking down the barriers to entry is a critical factor for diversifying who has access and what stories are told.

The Bobby Kashif Cox Memorial Scholarship will help provide the equity needed to make these institutions inclusive. It will help ensure that after our scholarship recipients begin their studies in New York, one of the most expensive cities in the world, they won’t have to choose between continuing their education and paying living expenses. Having a degree from Columbia University means receiving one of the best filmmaking educations in the world, building an invaluable peer network, and improving our ability to tell stories. It guarantees work in the media field at large. That means access—something that is needed now more than ever.

The Ask

To endow this scholarship, Columbia University required us to raise a minimum of $100,000. While this goal has been met, we are continuing our fundraising efforts in order to increase the amount we can award each year. By giving a tax-deductible donation to this fund, you help our friend live on AND support future generations of emerging screenwriters. Please donate to the Bobby Kashif Cox Memorial Scholarship if you are able.

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Thanks To Our Supporters

It’s thanks to your generous support of the BKC Memorial Scholarship that we were able to give out this first award to Ivan Rome!

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