July 8, 2023

Scholarships are a great way to help students achieve their goals and reach their full potential. So far this year, THCF has awarded more than $738,050 in scholarships to 312 area students! These scholarships will help alleviate some of the financial burdens that come with higher education, making it more accessible to a broader range of students. For many students, scholarships are the difference between being able to attend a college, university, or trade school or staying home. With more than 2,100 applications received this year, the need is clear.

We received 53 percent more applications this year than we did in 2022, with total scholarship award amounts going up by 14.4 percent. In 2019, $319,054 in scholarships were awarded. Looking at our numbers for this year, we see a staggering 131 percent increase in awards over this five-year period, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. We are proud to serve 159 scholarship funds at Truman Heartland and help fundholders help students throughout the region make dreams of higher education a reality.

This work couldn’t be done without our education foundation partners. Fort Osage Education Foundation, Grain Valley Education Foundation, Lafayette County C-1 Educational Foundation, Oak Grove Education Foundation, and Raytown Education Foundation collaborate with THCF on their scholarship programs. Together, we are changing the lives of students throughout suburban Eastern Jackson, Cass, and Layfette County communities.

On June 14, the Foundation brought together scholarship fundholders and their scholarship recipients for an old-fashioned ice cream social. It was an excellent opportunity for students and fundholders to meet, exchange stories, and celebrate the student’s academic accomplishments with a big bowl of ice cream. It’s an exceptional event unique to THCF.

I can only begin to imagine the hours of work involved in reviewing every application and reading every essay. Thank you to our 2023 Scholarship Committee members for their time and dedication: Rochelle Parker – Chair, Linda Gerding, David Mayta, Rochelle Parker, Dr. Jason Snodgrass, Shayla Baxter, John Dane, Trisha Drape, Madison Kuenkle, Cindy Miller, Chuck Mikulich, Glen Nash, Jennifer O’Brien, Nick Parker, Janice Phelan, Linda Roberts, Kim Roam, Jovanna Rohs, Dr. John Ruddy, John Ryan, Eddie Saffell, Dr. Elizabeth Savidge, Ian Scott, Patti Simcosky, Cory Unrein, and Matt Verlinden. The following individuals worked with our donor directed scholarships, assisting families in selecting their recipients: Rob Binney, Scott Chase, Don Claphan, Dr. Ryan Crider, John Grant, Keith Hannaman, Travis Hunt, Brian Morris, Terry Snapp, and Zac Sweets.

Starting a scholarship fund is a great way to give back to your community and support education. It’s a tax-effective way to make a meaningful impact. With the ability to manage complex transactions, and offer resources and personal service, a scholarship fund at your Community Foundation makes it easier than ever to help local students pursue their dreams.

The impact of scholarships is truly incredible. If you’re a business owner, community leader, or simply, someone who cares about education, consider starting a scholarship fund to help support the next generation of students. Your investment in their education today will pay dividends for years to come, creating a brighter future for everyone. With the cost of education on the rise, financial barriers can often be the biggest obstacle for students. Scholarship funds have become an increasingly important source of support for students pursuing higher education.

There are many different types of scholarships you can establish, depending on your interests and goals. You might choose to focus on a specific field of study, geographic area, or institution. You could create a scholarship in memory of a loved one or to honor a specific achievement or accomplishment. The Foundation will work with you to ensure your fund meets both your financial and philanthropic goals.

Whatever your motivation, starting a scholarship fund is a powerful way to make a difference in the lives of local young people. Your dedication will help to create a more educated and prosperous community, one student at a time.

Phil Hanson is the President and CEO of Truman Heartland Community Foundation. Truman Heartland Community Foundation (THCF) is a 501(c)(3) public charity committed to improving the communities in and around Eastern Jackson County through cooperation with community members and donors. THCF serves the region with assets of more than $50 million and annual grants surpassing $4.8 million. For more information on charitable giving, visit www.thcf.org or call Truman Heartland at 816.836.8189.