OPINION

Community Foundation scholarships help fund the future

Phil Hanson
Truman Heartland Community Foundation

At your local Community Foundation, we are wrapping up another busy scholarship season. It’s great to see our local graduating seniors have a more normal first year of college, with the progress we have made battling Covid-19.

Phil Hanson

At this time last year, we were in a very different situation with everything going virtual and real uncertainty on how colleges and universities would address the challenges. The only thing that remained consistent over the last year is the high cost of higher education, now averaging $20,000 per year. That is why having a variety of scholarships available to a wide range of students is so important.

Truman Heartland Community Foundation has worked with fundholders to establish more than 130 scholarship opportunities for local students. I am pleased to announce that THCF fundholders have awarded 342 scholarships totaling $467,044 to 240 area students to help alleviate some of the financial burdens of higher education. More than 200 reviewers spent hours poring over each scholarship application.

A huge thank you goes out to each of the dedicated volunteers serving on the THCF Scholarship Committee. We are grateful they can take time out of their busy schedules to thoughtfully read, review, and rank every application.

I consistently hear from our volunteers that every scholarship application we receive is like a mini-biography – a brief glimpse into each student’s academic and civic life, struggles and triumphs. They share how they are moved by the resilience and spirit of these young people and how the process has increased their confidence in our community’s future. Over the years, THCF fundholders have given more than $5.1 million in scholarships, helping both students and fundholders achieve their dreams. And our numbers continue to grow.

Setting up a scholarship fund is ideal for impacting students right here in your community while utilizing the foundation’s expertise in administration. Truman Heartland makes setting up a scholarship fund easy and worry-free. Whatever your area of interest, you choose the eligibility criteria that speak to your values. For example, you may want to target a specific geographic region, area of interest, or honor the memory of a loved one. The professional staff at the foundation will help you select the eligibility and selection criteria for your scholarship based on a field of study, academic achievements, extracurricular activities, financial need, or whatever fits best with your goals and values. THCF will handle all the details and find the best administrative option for you.

You can establish a scholarship fund with a gift of cash, appreciated securities, real estate, IRA required minimum distribution or other assets. We require a donation of $25,000 or more to ensure the endowment created by the gift will annually generate scholarships of $1,000 or more. Because your gift is placed into an endowment, it will have a perpetual impact. By investing in area students today, your generosity will make an impact for generations to come. Not only will you feel good about your scholarship gift, but you’ll also see some tax benefits in the year your gift was made.

Please feel free to contact me at hanson@thcf.org or call 816.912.4181 if you have questions about how you can establish a scholarship fund at THCF. We would be proud to add you to our scholarship fund family and get us closer to our 100% funding goal.

Phil Hanson is president and CEO of the Truman Heartland Community Foundation, based in Independence.