There is always a day in each year that is the most rewarding one yet when you are a volunteer on a committee. As a volunteer for Adams County Community Foundation’s Adams County Dollars for Scholars Committee, it is the day we gather to read through hundreds of essays written by high school students who are embarking on the next step in their life. In April our twelve committee members and an additional twenty community volunteers took part in the scholarship review process at the headquarters of Adams Electric Cooperative. Adams Electric Cooperative’s support of our scholarship program is invaluable.
Students apply for the scholarships through a confidential, on-line-based process from our website. And while much of the application is scored electronically (and reviewed by select committee members) there are two essays that the selection committee members read and review. All essays are read anonymously, being identified with just a student identification number. But as the volunteers read through the applications they get a feel for the goals and ambitions of our future leaders.
The two essays help the scholarship selection team determine the best candidates for the 70 scholarships awarded through Adams County Dollars for Scholars. This year we had 210 students complete the application process and the total amount awarded will exceed $135,000. In addition, if a scholarship winner attends a Pennsylvania institution, he or she may receive matching funds from the state-based PHEA awards. Last year our scholars received a total of $29,120 in additional scholarship through these awards.
Scholarships are set up through Adams County Community Foundation and the donors have different reasons for offering support to the youth of Adams County. Some donors are honoring the memory of a loved one or a special person in their life. Others recognize the importance of a good education or specific training and want to offer that to a deserving student. Scholarships are available for students attending a traditional four year program as well as several scholarships for vocational/technical schools.
The scholarships sponsored by the Adams County Community Foundation are operated through the Adams County Dollars for Scholars, which, in turn, is a program of Scholarship America. This is a national network of more than 500 locally based, volunteer driven programs serving students in thousands of communities across the country.
Providing scholarships is one of the most personally meaningful and direct ways in which to help local, deserving students reach their potential, and a donor can do this with even a relatively small amount of money. Starting an endowed scholarship offers an opportunity to build a scholarship fund that can be offered in perpetuity. For example, a minimum fund of $25,000 can offer a $1.000 scholarship, while a fund with $50,000 in the corpus can yield a $2,000 scholarship each year.
Adams County Dollars for Scholars and the Community Foundation would be very happy to help you achieve your goal of establishing a scholarship for youth in our county. We encourage you to call our office (717-337-0060) and speak with our staff person, Beverly Grazulewicz.
Matt Crowner is a member of the Board of Directors of Adams County Community Foundation and chair of its Adams County Dollars for Scholars Committee.