Scholarship America’s Dollars for Scholars affiliates work tirelessly in communities across the nation to provide scholarships and educational support for local students. Our 500 affiliates are largely volunteer-driven, and completely dedicated to the young people in their communities -- and we are thrilled to honor five of them as our 2014 Regional Affiliates of the Year!
These affiliates demonstrate excellence across the spectrum, from board leadership to fundraising efforts to demonstrating the impact of their scholarship awards. Each affiliate receives $1,000 to award to students, and they are all entered into the competition for National Affiliate of the Year. Our thanks and congratulations go out to these winners:
Canyon Crest Academy Dollars for Scholars (San Diego, CA)
Hands-on, 100 percent participation describes Canyon Crest Academy Dollars for Scholars well: Where else would volunteer recruitment be so successful that parents from a rival high school chose to join the affiliate instead because of its strength in the community? With a board that has extensive prior volunteer experience, the affiliate has found creative ways to support its students, including offering driver's ed courses in partnership with a local company and creating family directories for the school.
As an affiliate that prides itself on maximum transparency in its work, Canyon Crest Academy Dollars for Scholars has established an extremely successful board transition process, drawing in new members while revitalizing veteran ones. The cycle has allowed the affiliate to maintain a consistent image and brand presence in the community -- a result of the commitment to teamwork and participation that happens day in and day out.
George Washington Community High School Dollars for Scholars (Indianapolis, IN)
When a group of individuals believes in their community and supports their students passionately, the results speak for themselves. Such is the case for George Washington Community High School Dollars for Scholars, an affiliate that serves an urban population of students, many of whom are the first to graduate from high school and whose first language is not English. Based on its student population, the affiliate knew that offering students renewable scholarships would provide financial stability -- and hope for them to continue through school.
To further the work of an already-dedicated board, past scholarship recipients have the opportunity to join the board and become mentors for current recipients, with the board and school's guidance department facilitating the mentoring match-up. Thanks to a strong connection with past and current scholarship recipients, as well as student tracking since 2010, George Washington Dollars for Scholars continues to demonstrate its deep commitment to students' postsecondary access, completion and future success.
Hillcrest-Marlow Heights Civic Association Dollars for Scholars (Temple Hills, MD)
Strong presence, strong relationships and strong operations have made Hillcrest-Marlow Heights Civic Association Dollars for Scholars a force in the community. The organization is an outgrowth of the Hillcrest Heights Civic Association, created when association leaders realized the need to support young people in the community. Over the past 26 years, the affiliate has done just that. Fundraising efforts and fiscal responsibility have enabled the affiliate to provide renewable scholarships and increase the number and dollar amount of scholarships awarded each year. The organization has also established significant relationships with local government officials, many of whom support the affiliate financially and present scholarships at the annual awards ceremony.
Even with an established presence, the board recognized the need to engage young, new talent and recruited technology and fundraising expertise. Throughout all the gift campaigns, local media coverage and event fundraisers, the affiliate has remained extremely timely in compliance, maintaining its relationship both nationally and locally to, as their mission states, "preserve and improve the quality of our life in our community."
Marblehead Dollars for Scholars (Marblehead, MA)
With a board more than 30 individuals deep, including at least one student, Marblehead Dollars for Scholars' reach extends far and wide, serving students of all backgrounds in the New England coastal town. The scope of their work has created a distinguished reputation in the area. And with each board member working on a committee, the dedication to getting the job done on behalf of students is clear. Internally, the care and responsibility for the health of Marblehead Dollars for Scholars is evident, from the meticulous review of ChapterNet implementation to creating a brand-new fundraiser that helped attract new community members to the organization.
This sense of true ownership is also reflected in the affiliate's scholarship awards, which are customized based on each student's financial aid package. The labor-intensive process requires significant contributions from all volunteers -- and also pays off in reducing student debt, even attracting the attention of financial aid professionals nationally.
Shawano Dollars for Scholars (Shawano, WI)
The chance for higher education can happen at any age, and Shawano Dollars for Scholars takes this to heart. Thanks to their “New Vision” and “Continuing Education” scholarships, among others, older students and current college students can also pursue their postsecondary education. The affiliate's all-encompassing support for the community now extends to hundreds of students four to six years beyond high school.
On the high school level, area students have been impacted in huge ways. Several years ago, the affiliate decided to provide scholarships of some kind to every Shawano High School senior going on to postsecondary studies -- and support hasn't slowed down since. This year, Shawano Dollars for Scholars awarded 114 graduating seniors scholarships ranging from $1,200 to $7,500, totaling $275,000.
With more than 20 years of operation, the affiliate continuously seeks to improve its operations, focusing on demonstrating scholarship impact through fundraising events and publicity efforts, which in turn has attracted generous donors who trust the organization's service to the community.