Since our founding 60 years ago, Scholarship America has had a singular focus on supporting the dreams and aspirations of bright minds, no matter what their circumstances and obstacles might be. From our beginnings as a community scholarship drive in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1958, we have grown to become the nation’s largest private scholarship provider.
By Megan Gunderson and Matt Konrad
As 2018 draws to a close, we’re excited to look back on some major milestones in Scholarship America’s history. This year, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of our founding in 1958, when Fall River, Massachusetts optometrist Irving Fradkin had a simple but world-changing idea: if an entire community came together, even small donations could turn into significant support for college-bound students.
That idea has been the basis of our work for the last six...
By Amanda Condon
Editor's Note: Amanda Condon was a member of the 2016 class of Scholarship America Dream Award recipients. We are proud to publish this guest post from Amanda, letting us know where she is now—and what great things she's doing.
I was an honors student in middle school: ambitious, creative and driven. From the outside looking in, my family was a typical rural household that thrived on hard work and education. I was the second of four children and the leader of my siblings....
By Amy Ronnkvist
When it comes to providing scholarships, there are three major questions to answer. In Part 1 of this series, we looked at the “why” element—determining what you truly want to accomplish by awarding a scholarship. In Part 2, we delved into the “how,” looking at ways to identify the students who need your help. In this final installment, we’ll take a closer look at the “what”—that is, what to look for in your recipients, and what exactly your scholarship program should...
By Joan Cronson
An only child and a smart, well-rounded student growing up in New Orleans, Jacoby Barry developed important life skills that helped him thrive inside and outside the classroom. He excelled academically in math and science, completed AP and honor classes, but also had a passion for playing basketball and was a team captain.
“Playing basketball taught me resilience, toughness, dedication, and teamwork,” said Jacoby. “It takes practice to improve and compete. Math came easy for...
By Amy Ronnkvist
There are as many unique scholarship programs as there are sponsors, but the ones that make a truly life-changing impact have a few things in common. In Part 1 of this series, we discussed “finding your ‘why’—digging into the problems you want to solve and the stories that motivate you to give a scholarship. Answering that question is the first step toward developing a truly inspiring program. Today, we’ll look at step two: getting a deeper understanding of the students you...
By Amy Ronnkvist
If you’re considering creating a scholarship program, here’s one way to start thinking of the design: if I put a chair in front of you and asked who was sitting in the chair as you design your program, who occupies that chair? Is it your donor, a community member, a board member—or is it the student? Are you asking questions such as what does the donor want, or what does the board want? Or are you asking who are the students in my community, and what do they need to be...
By Joan Cronson
Born and raised in the United States to Mexican immigrant parents, Jacqueline (Jackie) Vela has often served as a translator.
Her father works in an industrial metal lab while her mother, despite suffering from chronic back pain, works at home raising their three children. As the eldest child, Jackie grew up helping with housework and caring for her younger sisters—including her youngest sibling, who has autism and does not speak. Throughout Jackie’s youth, she was also the...
by Matt Konrad
Everyone knows what a scholarship is. It’s free, no-strings-attached money to help a student pay for their higher education.
Usually. But not always.
In some cases, there are significant strings attached—including a few situations in which scholarship funds may be treated as taxable income. While it’s unusual, it’s also important for both students and scholarship providers to know how this can happen, and how it can be avoided.
by Joseph Palombo
I was 12 years old when I lost my dad in the September 11 attacks. He was a firefighter who died running into the Twin Towers to save others. I lost my hero that day.
I knew I would never again have that moment when my dad would look at me and say “I’m so proud.” After losing him, I felt insecure about my capabilities. I struggled through school. I had no idea what I was going to do in life. I didn’t think I could go to college, especially with nine siblings who all had...