The Clinton County Foundation has great news to share! The Foundation is opening an online, common program that will simplify the scholarship application process for our community’s graduating high school students and local scholarship funding organizations.
The pilot of this program will roll out with Wilmington High School this fall.
The Foundation is inviting all local organizations, businesses, and individuals that provide student scholarships to partner with them to make this a simple, easy to use scholarship site for our community. The Foundation is underwriting the plan and will maintain it, at no cost to those partnering organizations who currently operate outside the Foundation.
“We know and appreciate the struggle students and parents can face in paying for any form of education beyond high school,” said Brad Reynolds, President of the CCF board. “We understand that just figuring out the application and financial requirements necessary to consider pursuing additional schooling can be challenging to say the least. It’s confusing and there can be multiple deadlines from November through the end of May. Nothing is easy about this journey for a graduating high school student.”
The Clinton County Foundation board decided that it was time to put a comprehensive plan together that would help people find their way through the scholarship maze. This made sense because the Foundation currently manages more than 80 scholarships annually with a total gift amount of more than $144,000 this year.
The board will expand their website — www.clintoncountyohiofoundation.org — to include a common scholarship application page. This page will enable local students to apply for Clinton County Foundation scholarships plus any others in the community that choose to commit to the CCF’s “one-stop” scholarship shopping program.
The student will set up their own an account and will be asked to share specifics such as their GPA, activities, and career intentions. They will also take an eligibility quiz which, when completed, will identify which scholarships the student is qualified to apply for.
He or she can then complete the appropriate applications until the scholarship deadline dates.
Before the plan was announced, the board sought the advice of high school guidance counselors and community members. The board realized that the best people to ask were already friends or partners of the Foundation.
“First we talked with guidance counselors,” said Reynolds. “They do their best to communicate scholarship opportunities and deadlines, along with all of their other duties. These folks also know that mentors like coaches, favorite teachers, or faith leaders usually have a good understanding of a student’s chosen career path or of their desire to achieve in certain areas.”
He noted that these influencers can make a difference in whether a student applies for further education and knows about scholarships available in the community.
Community feedback on this topic indicated having a comprehensive directory of available scholarships to include guidelines and restrictions, where and how to apply, and the all-important deadline date was an imperative.
“That seemed like something the Foundation could do for students and families and as a result, we are working on putting that together,” said Jan Blohm, Clinton County Foundation Executive Director. “How comprehensive it will be depends on organizations sharing their scholarship information, criteria, and deadlines.
“We are reaching out to anyone who supports a scholarship to connect and partner with us. There is no cost to the organization, except knowing that they have made a commitment to collaborate. It’s free to students and families. We will publish it and put it online as a downloadable document, too.”
The Foundation is inviting any Clinton County organization, business or individual to be part of the scholarship directory and the new common application, even while continuing their own scholarship criteria/restrictions.
The group or individual can print their own applications and distribute them as they wish or set the application exclusively as an online document through the Foundation’s site.
Groups or individuals interested in the scholarship program should contact Executive Director Jan Blohm at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 937-566-1634 for more information.
New director search underway
On a non-related but equally important note, Reynolds said that the Foundation board has begun the search for a new Executive Director.
Jan Blohm, who has served as director for the past six years, recently announced her retirement plans.
The board will be working to identify quality candidates who have a strong interest in Clinton County, possess superb leadership skills, and have experience in the areas of philanthropy and development.
“Jan has done a wonderful job in building the Foundation to the strong organization it is today,” said Reynolds. “She’ll be difficult to replace, but since I don’t think we can talk her out of her retirement plans, we’re proceeding with our search.”