According to the Council on Foundations, community foundations “are grantmaking public charities that are dedicated to improving the lives of people in a defined local geographic area. They bring together the financial resources of individuals, families, and businesses to support effective nonprofits in their communities.”
Benefits of Community Foundations for College Students
Many students believe scholarships are too competitive. While some scholarships are quite competitive, such as the prestigious Gates Foundation Millennium Scholars Program, many scholarships have far fewer applicants. I strongly encourage you to look for local scholarships first—community foundations from where you live or in the area where your college is located are a great place to start. Literally thousands of local scholarships are available for students like you, with less competition, through community foundations. It doesn’t matter whether you live in a rural area, like I do, or in a large metropolitan area. Every state has at least one community foundation.
The Council on Foundations provides a handy tool to help you locate community foundations in your area. It’s called the Community Foundation Locator. Just click on your state in the interactive map, and you’ll be taken to a page of foundations that provides the name and URL along with the address, phone number, fax, who to contact, and their email address.
Go ahead and click on the URL of a community foundation in your area and look for a “Scholarships” tab or a search bar. I think you’ll be shocked to find that many community foundations administer hundreds of scholarships. It’s well worth your time to investigate each one in your area or where your school is located. In fact, I think you’ll get better results than using the scholarship search sites we write about.
What did you find in your area? I love to hear from readers, especially when they’ve found a scholarship goldmine!