Community Foundation looking for volunteers to help select students for scholarships
The folks at the Community Foundation of North Central Washington are faced with an exquisite challenge — they have so many college scholarship applications that they need an additional 45 volunteers this year to read through them and recommend the most deserving students.
The number of college scholarships being given out by the foundation is staggering. Last year, a total of 380 scholarships totaling nearly $1.3 million were given to 234 students, with a number of students receiving multiple scholarships. It took a small army of 323 volunteers to read through the 2,500 scholarship applications. Having that many scholarships from a rural community foundation is astounding. The reason we have that many scholarships is that so many families and organizations in the region have donated funds to establish them. It’s one more example of community members paying it forward.
There are a wide variety of scholarships facilitated by the foundation — for students who are interested in particular types of education, such as nursing and music; for those from particular communities, as a few examples. A minimum donation of $10,000 is needed to start a new scholarship. For many families, providing scholarships is a way to honor the contributions of family members who have passed on. There’s the Sarge Huber scholarship, in honor of the long-time Wenatchee High School band director, for example.
We live in communities where opportunities for higher education are challenging for those who come from working families. These scholarships help make education possible for countless kids each year to further their education.
CFNCW Executive Director Beth Stipe said the foundation continues to add scholarships. She said she recently opened up a scholarship for a retired Rock Island Elementary teacher who wanted to pay it forward for students who have attended that school.
“I think all of us can agree that education is the key to the door of life,” said foundation board member Leslie Freytag. We all benefit, she said, when we can help more young people develop curiosity and thirst for learning. This is particularly true for students from working families, said Julie Mott, the foundation’s scholarship program specialist.
Participating in a small group to read up to 20 applications is not time consuming — from six to eight hours, on average. Volunteers read the applications online and then sit down as a group and decide the best applications. reytag has been a volunteer reading applications for a number of years and she says the process is tremendously rewarding. Volunteers get to know amazing young people through their applications and make it possible for them to go to college.
Mott said if people are interested in reading applications, they can get more information on the organization’s website, cfncw.org, or contact her at [email protected]. Those 45 additional volunteers will need to sign up by the end of January. Signing up as a scholarship volunteer can be done online at cfncw.org/become-a-scholarship-volunteer/
They assign scholarships based on the interests of volunteers. The foundation has two deadlines for scholarship applications — March 1 for college scholarships and June 1 for nursing and trade schools. Volunteers have between 20 and 30 days to get the maximum of 20 applications read and scored. Freytag said reading the applications is inspiring and the most challenging part is selecting the winners because there are so many worthy students.
I’ve decided to volunteer to read applications for a journalism scholarship that has been established. Feel free to contact Mott and join me in becoming a scholarship volunteer and help pay it forward for deserving students in our region.