Higher Education and Nonprofits

Foundation passes $1M in scholarships

June 23, 2014
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Foundation passes $1M in scholarships
Brian Burt. Courtesy Grand Rapids Community Foundation

A local foundation has broken the $1-million mark for annual scholarships.

The Grand Rapids Community Foundation has awarded 642 scholarships for 2014, totaling $1,099,400. The scholarships ranged from $500 to $10,000.

The total is more than double the $544,500 the foundation awarded six years ago.

This spring, the foundation held 22 advisory committee meetings to review about 2,167 applications.

“Surpassing the one-million-dollar mark is a huge milestone for us and our community,” said Ruth Bishop, education program officer, Grand Rapids Community Foundation. “Our scholarship program shows tremendous growth and impact year after year.”

Brian Burt is one beneficiary of the scholarships. Burt — who graduated from Ottawa Hills High School in 2000 and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan — has been a recipient of the foundation’s scholarships all throughout college.

“It was significant and symbolic to receive the Community Foundation scholarship — knowing that someone outside my family valued and affirmed my dreams,” Burt said. “It was the support I needed.”

New scholarships

Part of the growth is due to the fact that the foundation also launched five scholarships this year: the Rosemary Cook Education Scholarship, which supports a Grand Rapids Public Schools graduate pursuing an education major; Harry J. Morris, Jr. Emergency Services Scholarship, which supports a local resident pursuing emergency service training; National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors West Michigan Scholarship, which supports a local resident pursuing either a business or finance major; the Allan R. Ryan Scholarship, which supports a Kent County student in 8th grade who is already enrolled at Catholic Central or West Catholic High School; and Gretchen Slack Appelt and Doris Ann Slack Scholarship, which supports a University of Michigan female student.

Breakdown of scholarships

Awards to first-generation college students: 56 percent

Awards to diverse populations: 30 percent

Awards to Grand Rapids Public Schools high school graduates: 20 percent

Top 5 Michigan colleges for scholarship awards

1. Grand Valley State University: $163,000

2. University of Michigan: $79,150

3. Michigan State University: $74,750

4. Grand Rapids Community College: $62,000

5. Ferris State University: $54,000

Top 3 areas of study by recipients

1. Health care: 23 percent

2. Business: 12 percent

3. Science: 10 percent 

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