Community Foundation Awards $644,400 in College Scholarships

When a family’s annual income is $30,000 or less, the cost for a year of post-secondary education can be staggering.  Grand Rapids Community Foundation believes education beyond high school is a key element to a student’s lifetime success.  To help students and families, the organization is awarding $644,400 in college scholarships.

The Community Foundation received a record number of scholarship applications this year.  Total scholarships awarded represent a $70,000 increase from last year and is the largest dollar amount the Community Foundation has awarded in a single year ever.  Nearly 60 percent of the applicants identified themselves as being first generation college students, meaning their parents have not attended college.  43 percent of the recipients reported having a family income of $30,000 or less

The Community Foundation has provided scholarships to students since 1945.  This work is made possible through the support of donors.  Most notably, in 2010 local philanthropists Fred and Lena Meijer gave $1.3 million to enhance a scholarship fund they had established for the children of Meijer employees in the 1970s.  The scholarship is now also available to Meijer employees and the dollar amount of each scholarship has increased from $500 to $1,000.  The Fred & Lena Meijer Scholarship Fund provided $73,000 in scholarships this year.

“With the generous support of donors including the Meijer family, we are helping students become better prepared for a career through education beyond high school.  We are doing our very best to help students and families lay the groundwork for a more prosperous future,” said Ruth Bishop, education program officer.

In total, the Community Foundation manages and administers 71 endowed scholarship funds.  These funds will continue to make college possible for local students in perpetuity. 


Grand Rapids Community Foundation Scholarship Facts and Figures




Applications received



# of scholarships awarded



Total scholarship dollar amount



Percent to first generation college students



Percent with family income $30,000 or less



# of endowed scholarship funds



Top majors (consistent for 2010 and 2011)

Healthcare, Law/social science, and Business