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Promote Community Service Scholarships to Students

by Michael Organ
The Challenge

Community Service Scholarships are offered by many corporations and private foundations to encourage service-learning.  If you know a college-bound student, you can help them as they help others.

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Encourage college-bound students to participate in volunteer activities that could qualify for one or more of these community service awards:

  • Target All-Around Scholarship:  Target awards more than 2,100 All-Around Scholarships each year — including four $10,000 national scholarships — to high school seniors and college students age 24 and younger. Scholarships recognize volunteer work as well as academic achievement.
  • Bonner Scholars Program: At 24 colleges, the Bonner Foundation supports as many as 1,500 students who receive up to $4,000 per year for four years.  In return, award recipients are asked to serve their communities in a lasting and meaningful way, by committing 10 hours each week to volunteer service activities and by completing at least one full-time summer service internship, among other requirements.  To be eligible, students must also demonstrate financial need, solid academic performance, and a history of responsibility and good citizenship.
  • Prudential Spirit of Community Award: Prudential recognizes college-bound high school students who have demonstrated exemplary community service.  Each year, ten national honorees receive $5,000, a gold medallion, and a trophy. One hundred additional students (2 from each state) receive a $1,000 state-level award, a silver medallion, and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, DC.
  • The Phillips Foundation's Ronald Reagan College Leaders Scholarships:  Applicants are encouraged to apply for the Future Leaders Scholarship during their sophomore year.  Sizable awards, in amounts of $7,500, $5,000, $2,500, and $1,000 are offered to college juniors and seniors who demonstrate leadership on behalf of the cause of freedom, American values and constitutional principles.
  • Elie Wiesel Prize In Ethics Essay Contest: This annual competition is designed to challenge college students to analyze urgent ethical issues and write thought-provoking, personal essays.  A total of $10,000 in first, second, and third prizes and two honorable mentions are awarded annually.

More Community Service Scholarships

Enterprising students can find additional college scholarship opportunities that recognize excellence in community service (as well as other activities).

For instance, FastWeb offers on-line scholarships searches that will be customized to your individual skills and interests. Though you will be presented with a fair amount of advertising, FastWeb's scholarship search is free, and its database is highly accurate and continuously updated.

Making a Difference: Scholarships for a Better WorldAlternatively, you may wish to review Miriam Weinstein 240 page book: Making a Difference: Scholarships for a Better World. The book showcases prestigious scholarships and fellowships that: reward community service, invest in "social entrepreneurs", and provide funds for studies in labor, peace, and the environment.

Many of these awards are large -- in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. All awards, regardless of size, provide exceptional credentials for college admission and job searching.

As another possibility for building resume credentials, you may also be interested in The President's Volunteer Service Award, which recognizes sustained commitment to volunteer service. The Award is given to individuals, families and groups that have demonstrated outstanding volunteer service and civic participation over the course of a 12-month period.

Award recipients receive:

  • An official President’s Volunteer Service Award pin
  • A personalized certificate of achievement
  • A note of congratulations from the President of the United States
  • A letter from the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation

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