Foundation beginning scholarship reviews

The Community Foundation of Jackson County grants committee — consisting of members from our board of directors and other community volunteers — has been busy reviewing and evaluating applications for the foundation’s fall grant cycle.

Keep an eye out for a list of recipients coming out later this month.

But for area high school seniors and their parents, another busy time is fast approaching. That’s right, the deadline for filing applications for scholarships administered by the foundation will arrive amid the holiday seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas. The application deadline for scholarships to be awarded this next spring — including the prestigious Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship — is Dec. 3.

Please don’t miss that deadline or the filing deadlines for other sources of scholarships. There are no exceptions.

This past year, the foundation awarded scholarships to area students, totaling more than $53,200 to help those students start and continue their higher education. More than 120 students submitted applications.

Both the scholarship and grant cycles are important parts of what the foundation does to enhance the quality of life all across Jackson County. Our staff, board members and other community volunteers take those jobs seriously and do our best to protect the gifts made over the years and the integrity of the donors’ goals.

Each winter, students from each of the five Jackson County high schools are encouraged to complete the online scholarship application. The application makes students eligible for any number of the 47 scholarship funds administered by the foundation.

Some scholarships are narrowed to particular schools. Some are specific to fields of study. Some focus on students with financial need. Some focus on top academic marks. Others take into account that students who might struggle more than others academically deserve a chance, too.

Some scholarships can be renewed for multiple years.

They all offer Jackson County students and their parents a leg up on the seemingly always increasing cost of higher education.

One note to parents of children whose students are seniors this fall and even of those who will be seniors in another year or two — remember that there are scholarships available here at the foundation, through the Greater Seymour Trust and elsewhere.

Make sure you check with your school’s guidance counselor. Check with us. Check with the folks at JCB who administer the Greater Seymour Trust. Check with others who offer scholarships. Students must apply to be considered.

And remember to follow the rules, meet the paperwork requirements and meet the filing deadlines.

Once applications are accepted and the filing period closes, foundation Vice President Sue Smith contacts local schools to obtain any additional information we need to help our scholarship committee make decisions on who will receive which scholarships.

This past year, the scholarship committee consisted of three of our board members and four community volunteers, including two previous recipients of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship award, a full-tuition, fees and books scholarship administered by the foundation on behalf of Lilly Endowment.

The fun part of the scholarship process comes at the honors day programs each May, when foundation staff and, in some cases, representatives of the individual scholarship funds, present letters announcing the scholarship winners to the soon-to-be graduates.

If you would like to make a donation to any of the 47 scholarship funds administered by the foundation, or if you’d like to start your own scholarship fund, call us at 812-523-4483. Your endowed gifts can, through prudent investment, help generate earnings for scholarships to help people all across Jackson County. Over and over, year after year.

Dan Davis is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Jackson County. The foundation administers more than 140 funds with assets of more than $10 million. For information about how you can make a donation to any of the funds administered by the foundation or how you might start a new fund, call 812-523-4483 or send an email to Davis at