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Community Foundation readies scholarships

BY Kaitlin Gebby - kgebby@chronicle-tribune.com

The Community Foundation is set to give away more than 200 scholarships to local students.

According to Community Foundation Director Dawn Brown, around $379,000 has been collected for scholarship funds from local donors.

Brown said the criteria for the scholarship is made by the donor, and the Community Foundation sets out to see their donation meets its perfect match.

“Some people donate for a scholarship in the name of their mother, who may have been a nurse that dedicated themselves to the community,” she said. “So we would create a scholarship for nursing students to use as per the donor’s wishes.”

Brown explained that criteria completed by students during the application process is used to automatically apply them for every other scholarship they are eligible for.

Applications are reviewed blindly, as identifiers are eliminated and only criteria is considered until the student is selected for the funds.

As of Thursday, the Community Foundation was still working through the verification process of scholarship winners to confirm they still meet the criteria they listed in their application.

According to Brown, Community Foundation and Project Leadership often combine their efforts to spread the word on local scholarships to seniors at local high schools.

“We set aside a day to go to every senior English class in the county to make sure every student wishing to go to college knows there are scholarships available for them,” Brown said.

Steve Gibson, of Project Leadership, said he witnessed a student of his in a Community School of the Arts class discover that she will be able to attend school because of a scholarship gifted by the Community Foundation.

“Right around November, her work transitioning to post-secondary became a regular topic of conversation before class time,” Gibson said in an email. “It was clear that she had a number one school in mind. It was also clear that while she technically had a number two (school) it was nowhere close.”

Gibson said when his student did the math between her financial aid eligibility and any assistance her family could offer, she knew she had a gap in aid “and the gap was significant.”

Gibson said his student was awarded a scholarship from the Community Foundation that would not only help close the gap but finish covering costs completely.

He said he was happy to explain to his class just how rare it was for a community to have an organization determined to offer scholarships but also meet student need, and meet it often.

“This was truly one of those situations where the student was doing everything right, and the system got it right too,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t know how common that is elsewhere. In Grant County, though, students are lucky to have a Community Foundation whose mission is not only to 'meet need,' but to “meet students’ individual needs.”

Clifton Davis, a 2016 grad who now teaches at both Ball State University and Taylor University, said a scholarship from the Community Foundation helped him support his family while also assisting him through a mid-career change from music performance through non-profits to teaching musicians at the collegiate level.

Emma Pearson is a senior at Eastbrook High School and looking forward to obtaining an associate’s degree from Ivy Tech Community College in Marion while she carves out a determined path for her future.

She received a total of $2,000 in scholarships from donors to the Community Foundation. The scholarships she received were from local people who wanted to honor their family who attended Eastbrook High School and went on to serve in the Armed Forces.

Pearson said it warms her heart knowing the money she’s been honored with will go back into the community through pursuing part of her education locally.

“It’s such a blessing to be part of, and receiving any scholarship is a blessing,” she said. “I’m just so excited to be able to start my future, and it makes my heart feel good that a place in Grant County is ready to help students do that.”