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The Community Foundation oversees more than 75 active scholarship funds that have awarded more than $4.25 million in scholarships to thousands of students since the program’s inception. Award criteria for each scholarship is set by the donor, with some stipulating that student recipients focus on a particular academic program or attend a specific school. On the other hand, some donors choose to cast a wider net and provide awards to deserving students pursuing their studies at any college or university. Fields of study range from accounting to aviation to veterinary sciences—and everything in between. In addition to traditional student scholarships, the Community Foundation also manages a unique fellowship fund—the Hayes-Couper Fund— which provides fellowship opportunities to teachers at Clinton Central School District.

Creating a scholarship fund not only enriches the lives of students, but their families, their futures, and overall—our community. The Community Foundation is a trusted local resource for the oversight, compliance, and administration of charitable funds that award scholarships to individuals. 

Don Lynskey and his family started the Connor Arthur Lynskey Memorial Scholarship Fund in honor of his late nephew who passed away unexpectedly in 2018. After managing the fund himself for a couple of years, he realized that he needed some support to streamline the process and allow the fund—and number of annual awards—to grow.

“Offering scholarships is a wonderful way to commemorate someone but there’s a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into creating and maintaining a scholarship fund,” Lynskey shared. 

“I had been trying to administer our program myself—creating the forms and applications, distributing them, getting them to different schools, getting the money to the recipients, ensuring it was going to the institutions, those types of tasks. Now partnering with the Community Foundation, they take care of all of that for us,” said Lynskey. 

Fulfilling the process of awarding a scholarship from start to finish is no easy task, but the Community Foundation is skilled at coordinating and delivering all aspects each academic year.

“The process begins in January where we work to identify scholarship amounts and determine which schools to reach out to,” said Allison Campbell, Community Foundation fund administration coordinator. “Area high schools and colleges are contacted in February so they can begin to spread the word to students about available scholarship opportunities. Beginning in March and through the summer months, we are in constant contact with local schools and guidance counselors to identify candidates that meet the criteria for each award. We also collect necessary documentation from students and make sure that the funds are directed to their school of choice.” 

Donors wishing to set up a scholarship fund will work with the Community Foundation team to determine a name and investment strategy of their choosing and will receive an immediate tax deduction for gifts they make to the fund. Donors can choose to endow their scholarship fund, which would exist in perpetuity, or establish an expendable scholarship fund, which allows awards to be made over a specific duration of time. 

For families, schools, or organizations currently self-managing an existing scholarship fund or program, the Community Foundation offers a full-service transition process that will ensure a seamless transition for your scholarship awards. 

For more details on scholarship funds, visit www.foundationhoc.org/createafund, or contact Nick Grimmer, director of giving strategies, ngrimmer@foundationhoc.org.

Article originally published in the Daily Sentinel on June 20, 2024

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