"April showers bring May flowers” is the traditional saying and we are getting plenty of needed rain as I write this column.
Spring is a time of new life and growth, so it’s appropriate that it’s scholarship season here at your Community Foundation. The scholarships provided by our donors, just like the water from spring rains, provide the opportunity for growth for the students receiving this support.
Your Community Foundation is very fortunate to have a robust scholarship program due to the generosity of many donors in our community. We have a total of 83 scholarship programs that will award scholarships totaling approximately $200,000 this year. We have around 175 volunteers working on various committees to make the decisions regarding which students to choose for these awards.
Last year we had 625 students apply with 162 students receiving scholarships. We greatly appreciate all the efforts of these volunteers as they make these tough decisions. The common theme I hear from these volunteers is what a positive experience it is to get a glimpse of the great students who have applied but how difficult the decisions are with so many good candidates.
One of our largest and most popular scholarships programs is the Forrest and Marjorie Martin Scholarship that was created through an estate gift in 2007. This scholarship was tailored to meet the needs of students who have completed at least one year of college. We found that there are many one-year scholarships for graduating high school seniors; however, since these are not renewable, students after their first year often are in a financial crunch. This scholarship is also available for students pursuing technical trade certifications or associate degrees, and graduate students; which were other scholarship gaps identified.
This year the Forrest and Marjorie Martin Scholarship will provide scholarships totaling $48,000, and this endowed fund since 2007 has provided scholarships totaling $386,000. In its first 25 years we estimate it will have awarded $2.2 million in scholarship awards, all made possible by the initial gift of $990,000, demonstrating the power and impact of an endowed fund over time.
We look forward to our scholarship reception in June where many of the donors who have established these scholarships will have a chance to meet the students receiving their support. It’s always a great event enjoyed by students and our great donors alike. I hope you have a great spring full of new life and growth.
Phil Hanson is president and CEO of the Truman Heartland Community Foundation, based in Independence.