Fundraising for a scholarship as a community service project

Try fundraising to start and maintain a scholarship that will benefit youth, families, and the community as a community service project.

What comes to mind when you hear the term community service? Is it cleaning up parks and river banks? Is it donating food and clothing? Whether it’s volunteering at animal shelters or restoring old houses, there is a wide range of ideas for community service projects. Here is another question: what comes to mind when you hear the term fundraising? Does having a car wash, collecting pop cans, selling bakes goods and candy, or some type of walk-a-thon come to mind? Consider having youth and combine fundraising and community service. Youth who are participating in different youth groups and organizations can combine community service and fundraising to benefit people in a neighborhood, community, city and county. Activities can be coordinated to raise funds for a specific purpose and to help accomplish a goal.

One example for a scholarship idea is to raise funds to assist youth in pursuing postsecondary education. It has been noted that by 2020, 65 percent of U.S. jobs will require some form of postsecondary education. Along with the increase of jobs requiring some form of postsecondary education, the cost of college is rising. The statistics are there, and they clearly show that there is a desire for postsecondary education and a shortage of financial assistance. Creating a scholarship can benefit high school graduates and their parents when it comes to financing postsecondary education.

Michigan State University Extension suggests that getting the right type of information to start a scholarship is important for youth groups to help with planning and fundraising efforts. Some important questions to ask are:

  • How much do we want to award to students?
  • How much does it take to start funding a scholarship?
  • What selection criteria are we going to use to award scholarships?
  • Where can we go to start a scholarship?
  • How will scholarship recipients be selected?

Community foundations, other private nonprofit foundations, colleges and universities are examples of places to go for starting a scholarship, (Attention 4-H members! The Michigan 4-H Foundation is an option for starting a scholarship). 4-H clubs or 4-H youth councils will need to raise at least $30,000 to invest in a scholarship fund through Michigan 4-H Foundation. With this large amount of money, fundraising should be a yearly commitment to start a scholarship, maintain, and increase the number of scholarship dollars given to help support youth.

Fundraising builds skills like planning, organizing, teamwork and leadership. These are also skills that can lead to a career. Creating and maintaining a scholarship by youth organizations allows them to leave a legacy in the community. It is a gift that keeps giving and enhances the educational pursuit of students graduating high school.

To learn about starting a scholarship through the Michigan 4-H Foundation for 4-H Councils or 4-H youth groups, visit the Michigan 4-H Foundation website.

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