Education is important. Education is expensive. Neither of these statements is a news flash. “Many people talk to me about wanting to start a scholarship,” says Chris Fulton, Executive Director of the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation. “There are as many reasons why people start scholarships as there are people. In fact, with over 90 different scholarship funds under our management, an aspiring student of any age has a good chance of finding one that fits. Many of these scholarships are specific to the Grand Rapids Area.”
Supporting excellence in sports and activities
The Bonner Hockey Scholar Award offers $500 each, to one male and one female of the Grand Rapids High School Varsity Hockey Teams. The awards are given to the corresponding students with the highest GPA. Hockey and education have played an important part in the Bonner Family for many years. This award is intended to encourage students to work towards achieving both their athletic and academic potential.
The Carl & Margaret Mickelson / Kiwanis Scholarship is intended for a Grand Rapids High School student who plans to further his or her post-secondary education. This scholarship stresses the importance of service to the student’s high school and community above him/herself. The applicant must have a 3.0 GPA or better, and be active in extracurricular activities, community and church. Membership in the Grand Rapids High School Key Club (or ICC Circle K for PSEO students) and/or community service is heavily weighed. Priority may be given to students entering the field of education. The Mickelson Family and the Kiwanis Club have established a wonderful legacy for dedicated educators and loyal participants in the Grand Rapids community.
Vocational and Technical studies matter
The Bob Frick Memorial Scholarship is intended for a student entering a vocational or technical program. This scholarship is a continuing legacy to Bob Frick who taught numerous hands-on classes to thousands of students at Grand Rapids High School. “Mr. Frick had such a great relationship with each and every one of his students,” remarks Sarah Copeland, Director of Grants and Programs at the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation. “I think of how beloved Mr. Frick was every time his family presents his scholarship. It is so touching when three generations of family participate in giving back to this type of the community.”
The John & Francis Furlong Scholarship is offered in honor of John & Francis Furlong of Menomonie, Wisconsin. Providing scholarships at $1,000 each, the recipients are the two applicants with the highest GPA who are enrolled in a post-secondary technical training program. (Technical or vocational training is defined as training which does not lead to a bachelor’s degree.) John Furlong, a 1932 graduate of Grand Rapids High School, worked exceptionally hard both physically and academically to obtain numerous degrees and accomplishments. He once commented, “Our intent was to assist students in continuing their education and to set an example for others who feel they received a good education at Grand Rapids High School.”
The Erling & Fran Willadson Scholarship also provides support for a Grand Rapids High School graduate who plans to attend a vocational or technical school program. “I remember when Erling and Fran first came in to the Community Foundation office,” notes Copeland. “They both spoke so passionately about making sure that students seeking a trade have just as much support as those who pursue a degree. This endowment provides for that legacy for the rest of time.”
“Many people assume it takes a lot to start a memorial scholarship”, notes Copeland, “but did you know that anyone can give to an existing scholarship? Did you graduate with Jennifer Koprowski, or swim or run track with her? Why not ask your family (or Facebook friends) to provide a gift to the Jennifer Koprowski Memorial Scholarship Fund as your next birthday present?” Copeland continues explaining, “If you were a student of Bob Frick’s, you can honor what he gave you by giving back to the Bob Frick Memorial Scholarship. If you taught with Bob…you get the idea. How many of us need another present?” Adding even more, Copeland states, “Are you a fan of Grand Rapids Hockey? What better way to support the Varsity Hockey players, than by providing a gift to the Bonner Hockey Scholar Award?”
Giving to existing scholarships honor someone’s legacy, and make it simple to support a school, a field of study or a student. By donating to an existing scholarship, there is no need to worry about setting up a new fund or paying any fees.