Application period opens for 2017 Community Foundation scholarship program

A simple thank you can best explain the focus and importance of the Marion Community Foundation Scholarship Program.

Kara Kubbs, a Robert M. & Dorothy C. Wopat Scholarship recipient, wrote, “The generosity you have offered the community is amazing; and, I am appreciative. You have continued to help me pursue my dream, as well as become a better person. I hope one day I am able to help students reach their goals as you have helped me with this scholarship.”

Helping students achieve their dreams, lightening the financial burden, and providing opportunities for success are some of the reasons the Marion Community Foundation scholarship program has grown exponentially since its first award in 2000. Marion Community Foundation’s 2017 Scholarship Program is now underway for area high school seniors and graduates. Today the scholarship program includes more than 90 funds.

In 2016, scholarship funds generated 144 awards to 118 Marion area students – exceeding $253,000. A larger amount of awards is expected in 2017, according to Dean Jacob, President and CEO of Marion Community Foundation.

“Since 2010, the number of scholarship funds available through Marion Community Foundation has increased dramatically – from 40 to 90 – and the amount of awards quadrupled,” said Jacob. “Our donors care about the future of Marion and generously support our students.”

The application process is entirely online and starts with a visit to  Visitors will find two application links on the homepage, one for high school students and one for graduates.

“As Marion Community Foundation’s scholarship program has become better known,” said Jacob, “the percentage of applications from high school graduates continues to increase.”

According to Scholarship Committee chair Kathy Goodman, a typical scholarship program focuses primarily on awards for high school seniors heading into their college freshman year.  Marion Community Foundation’s program is unique in that it includes a large number of awards available to second- and subsequent year college students, she said. Some of the Foundation’s scholarships are even targeted for beyond the bachelor’s degree or specifically for medical school, veterinary majors, and nontraditional students.

Marion Community Foundation will again offer the Wopat Scholar award. Thanks to a major gift from the late Robert and Dorothy Wopat of Marion, this award is the Foundation’s largest scholarship and a portion of the awards from this fund may be renewable for three years.  This marks the seventh year of the Wopat Scholars program.

The Wopat Scholar award helped River Valley graduate Sarah Longo attend and enjoy The Ohio State University, and to follow her heart.

“A few weeks into second semester I changed my major from math education to community leadership, specializing in extension education — following in Mom’s footsteps,” she said. “I knew this is where my passions lie.”

Subsequently, Longo has begun working as a student assistant at the State 4-H Center and added a minor in youth development. Longo is in the second year of her renewable Robert M. & Dorothy C. Wopat Scholarship from Marion Community Foundation.

Several new scholarship funds are part of the 2017 program at Marion Community Foundation, including:

  • Charles E. Orcena Scholarship,
  • Laura Rush & Tom Rosol Nursing Student Scholarship,
  • Daniel B. Stover Memorial Scholarship,
  • Clifford & Frances Strine Family Scholarship,
  • Whirlpool Corporation/One Energy S.T.E.M. Scholarship,
  • Beulah Mae Williams Scholarship,
  • Dr. Shelton & Becky Williams Scholarship,
  • Mary Ellen Withrow Scholarship,
  • Norman Withrow Golf Scholarship,
  • and 12 Marion Rotary Club scholarships which have moved under the stewardship umbrella of Marion Community Foundation. The Rotary Scholarships honor the memory of local Rotarians, including W. Hoover Brown, Warren Brown, Robert C. Dowd, Harold Hall, Warren G. Harding, Ralph W. Howard, Robert E. Kibbey, Wayne Kuhn, R.T. Lewis, George Scantland, and Karl W. Schell.

Scholarships in the program are available in a wide variety of academic specialties and general scholarships as well. Detailed information is available on the Foundation’s website.

“Each scholarship has its own selection criteria based on the donor’s preferences,” said Goodman. The one application allows students to be considered for all of the scholarships for which they are eligible.

The online application requires documentation such as personal recommendations, financial details, and essays to be attached. According to Program Manager, Julie Prettyman, students can save the application in progress while they gather the supporting documentation and return to finish the application, including making updates and corrections, before submitting a final version of the application.

Applications are available now through March 2, 2017, at 5 p.m.  The review process continues for several weeks, culminating in the Board’s final decisions in early May.  The Marion Community Foundation Scholarship Committee consists of Larry Geissler, Kathy Goodman, Nancy Hafer, Sue Jacob, Megan Queen, Chuck Speelman, and Nikki Workman.

Additional information and access to the online scholarship application is available at  Students may click on either the scholarship icon on the left side of the page or the “Scholarships” tab in the navigation bar to start the process.  Marion Community Foundation can also be reached by calling 740-387-9704.

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