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Paths to Funding Scholarships

Paths to Funding Scholarships:

Determining Donor Intent to Maximize Impact

Bridget Posta

By Bridget Posta, Scholarship Administrator

Questions? Email Bridget at scholarships@waukeshafoundation.org

Donors interested in funding postsecondary education for students in their community may benefit from looking to a community foundation. Waukesha County Community Foundation (WCCF) offers a variety of options for funding scholarships, and we are committed to working with donors to identify solutions that align with their philanthropic strategy.

Acknowledging the passion that many of our donors have for supporting education, and realizing the vital impact this type of giving has on our community, WCCF has focused resources on streamlining and improving our scholarship processes, including implementation of a Scholarship Lifecycle Manager software package in 2023. Our objective is to develop practices that maximize impact by reaching a larger pool of potential applicants, while also identifying and eliminating obstacles for those applicants.

Federal rules and regulations as they apply to scholarship support vary depending on the type of award being offered, as well as the method used for funding those awards. Community foundations can provide services and support, from initial fund creation through scholarship payment processing, which ensures the gift follows established guidelines while increasing access to educational opportunities for students and meeting donor intent.   

Pass-through scholarships

Pass-through scholarships refer to opportunities offered on a limited basis and are generally dependent on recurring, typically annual, donations by local community members and businesses. We currently partner with seven education and scholarship foundations throughout Waukesha County, and each facilitates pass-through scholarships with funds held by WCCF. Donors to these funds may suggest award criteria, establish and participate in selection committees, and opt to support the scholarship, or not, on an ongoing basis.

Create a Fund

If a donor’s goal is to ensure funding now and into the future for students from a particular high school or for students with specific interests, for example, WCCF has multiple offerings. Funds of this type have a minimum dollar amount initial contribution. From there, a decision is made to either invest for growth of the fund, allowing for scholarships to be awarded while also growing the principal, or to spend down the fund over a determined period. The choice to be involved in the application review and award process is also at the discretion of the donor, and WCCF strives to structure a plan that fulfills each donor’s unique intentions.

Ken Stowell, Establishing donor of the Stowell Scholarship Fund held at the Waukesha County Community Foundation

Directly to an institution

Granting to an educational institution’s or to a qualified public charity’s established scholarship program is another route to facilitating funding for students. When granting to a specific educational institution, donors are often able to help define criteria. Beyond that, involvement in identifying applicants, selecting, and awarding scholarships recipients is very limited. Donors may have the option to connect with recipients once awards have been announced. WCCF can suggest several different possibilities for this type of funding.

The Waukesha County Community Foundation is excited to be able to present creative opportunities for donors to accomplish their vision of charitable giving. If you would like to discuss how we can help you identify a scholarship funding plan that fits your objective, please contact us at 262-513-1861 or email scholarships@waukeshafoundation.org to start a conversation.

A sincere thank you to our current fund advisors and education and scholarship foundation partners who are making such a difference in the lives of our students!

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