2017-06-15 / Top News

Southwest Florida Community Foundation awards $800,000 in scholarships

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation recently granted a record $800,000 and 150 scholarships through a competitive process to local high school students, undergraduate and graduate students from Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. For the first time, the Foundation awarded 20 of the scholarships as multi-year awards, which will help the students each year until completion.

For the 2017 scholarship season, more than 1,800 eligible applications were received and reviewed by 82 volunteer reviewers.

“We are focused on not only helping students get to college or technical school but helping them finish as well,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “Thanks to the generous donors who established and continue to support scholarship funds, we are able to assist students entering college or training programs and adults returning to school.”

Students could apply for multiple scholarships through the foundation’s online portal, where volunteer readers reviewed and scored the scholarships based on the criteria set by the scholarship fund donor.

“We offer scholarships for vocational students and not just for attendance at colleges and universities,” said Ms. Owen. “As we work closer with the Future- Makers Coalition and our donors, we have shifted the way our scholarships are granted to better benefit the student’s ability to not only access schooling but to also complete it.”

According to Ms. Owen, examples of some of the more unique scholarships not as highly sought after included scholarships for students with disabilities, student athletes, students pursuing a specific field of study such as teaching deaf or blind individuals, specific church membership or community service hours in a particular facility such as a veterans hospital, adult students going back to school, students from particular schools or communities, and students pursuing a graduate or professional degree.

Details of the scholarships and a list of recipients can be found on the foundation’s website at https://floridacommunity.com/2017-scholarship-recipients or by visiting the website www.floridacommunity.com and clicking on “Scholarships” page.

New scholarships awarded this year include:

Ann & Tom Smoot Scholarship Fund for a Lee County high school graduating senior with at least a 2.7 GPA pursuing post-secondary education at an accredited school and demonstrates financial need

Building Futures Scholarship for individuals nominated by Fiddlesticks Country Club to pursue post-secondary education

Discovery Day Academy Scholarship to support the education of students at Discovery Day Academy

Gail Markham Believing in Girls Scholarship Fund for a female high school graduate in Charlotte, Collier, Hendry, Glades or Lee counties who demonstrates financial need with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to obtain a post-secondary degree at an accredited college, university or technical school for up to a four-year duration for this award

Jordan Ashley Gutheim Scholarship Fund for an Evangelical Christian School High School graduate planning to attend Florida State University and demonstrates financial need

Lloyd & Shirley Matthai Scholarship Fund for Lee County single mothers with economic need who wish to pursue education in the medical or dental field

Lloyd & Shirley Matthai Scholarship Fund for High Schoolers for children below the poverty level to attend a private non-boarding high school in Lee County

Shadow Wood Charitable Foundation Scholarship Fund for Shadow Wood Country Club and Shadow Wood Community Association employees and their children (but not other dependents) to pursue further education

Spring Run Charitable Foundation Scholarship Fund for employees and their dependents age 26 or younger to pursue further education

Steven F. Lux Scholarship to provide tuition support for the criminal justice students of the Southwest Florida Public Service Academy

If you are interested in becoming a scholarship reviewer, donor or to start a scholarship fund, contact the Southwest Florida Community Foundation at give@floridacommunity.com or call 274-5900.

The foundation’s regional headquarters are located off College Parkway in Fort Myers, with satellite offices located on Sanibel Island, in LaBelle (Hendry County) and downtown Fort Myers. For more information, call 274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com. ¦

Return to top