I often hear people say that they would like to start a scholarship either in memory of a loved one or because they see a need in the community. Frequently the memorial scholarships are because a certain subject matter was important to the person, it really kept their focus while navigating teen years and desire to do other things. Or it is because of their career and where they spent their passion as an adult. People also see that we have a struggling workforce here, there is no doubt we have a shortage of vocational workers, and knowing how good a career as a plumber, electrician, carpenter, or mechanic can be, they want to see a young student strive for that same type of life.
It seems what stops people is not rounding up the funds to support a student each year, but the unknown process to make it happen. To do it properly, there is annual tracking of the student on whether they have fulfilled your requirements, reporting to the IRS, accounting of the funds, and the whole process on creating the application and reviewing applicants – all to only choose one student!
The Crook County Foundation takes all of that work and stress off a donor! We are responsible for overseeing nearly 40 scholarships at over $60,000 each year, many of those provided by amazing local families and businesses. It all started with one generous offer from the late Paul Rowan. Paul wanted to see a scholarship started and knew that it made sense for the Crook County Foundation to administer it. Eventually other donors contacted our organization and more support became available for high school seniors and college students.
Higher education is getting more expensive each year, causing more and more students to graduate in tremendous debt. In an Oregonian article from 2016, it was stated that Oregon students have, on average, over $28,000 in debt when exiting college. Which explains why so many students spend their high school years preparing for the scholarship application – volunteering, joining clubs, participating in sports – all in hopes of covering as much of their freshman year expenses as they can. I personally see how grateful our graduating seniors are for every dollar contributed to their higher education experience.
If you have a desire to help a local high school senior, a current college student (who was a graduate of Crook County), or a non-traditional student (adult going back to college) – let us help you set up a fund in your name or that of a loved one. The simplest way to contribute to a scholarship is to donate the tax-deductible amount directly to an organization like the Crook County Foundation as it will save you incredible time and stress, but still be able to honor your wishes. Because we have oversee nearly 40 individual scholarships, we: have an application process already in place and take on all the financial tracking of the funds, have a strong committee of individuals who review the applications and make the selection based on the criteria that you establish, can invoice you annual for the donation (you don’t even have to remember to send us the check!), will provide you a receipt that you can use at tax time, and make sure that the student complies with your wishes (for example: proof of their fall term grades and show enrollment for winter term) before we process their check. Our donors are invited to present their scholarships at the Senior Award Night, but we can provide a committee member to do so if you are not comfortable on stage in front of hundreds of people.
Scholarships are one way to help build a strong future community – they encourage students to expand their education and show that there are people who care about their dreams. If you have been thinking of creating a scholarship, please feel free to contact our office. We can make the process straightforward and effortless on your part. Will you help us support our next leaders? Call Brandi Ebner, Crook County Foundation Executive Director at 541-362-1210 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please visit our website for a list of current donors and more information: www.CrookCountyFoundation.org.
Photo compliments of Pamplin Press