“Linking donors to dreams” – it’s been the mission and calling of the Cottage Grove Community Foundation for over 30 years. And through its scholarship program, which recently contributed to the secondary education of 101 area students, the Foundation has helped local young people reach for their dreams since 2002.
Recently, the Foundation awarded $136,850 in scholarship funds to deserving students who plan to continue their education after high school, a figure that includes the $33,500 the Foundation gave in renewable scholarships for local graduates in the later years of their college education.
“We have eight renewable scholarships,” says Kathryn Porter, who has shepherded the Foundation’s scholarship program since its inception 20 years ago and who currently acts as its co-chair. “It’s nice to be able to help support kids throughout their college experience.”
This year’s scholarship totals are a far cry from the program’s humbler beginnings. In its first year, the Foundation gave out eight scholarships totaling $6,100. Awards have grown steadily each year since.
Each year, students apply through the Foundation for any awards for which they might be eligible. Awards range in size from $500 to $6,000. This year, the Foundation was able to meet its goal of offering a scholarship to each applicant.
“Now, we want it to be a scholarship for every CGHS student who plans to continue their education after graduation,” Porter says.
Of course, such support is only possible with the help of generous community donors, whose contributions have allowed the Foundation to grow the program in its scope and ambition. And contrary to what one might think, such philanthropic giving doesn’t require fabulous wealth.
“Lots of people think that the word ‘endowment’ means you’ve got to be rich,” Porter says, “but people can donate to the scholarship program without the funds necessary to start an endowment.”
Porter mentioned the Kingzett family, a former South Lane counselor and nurse whose seven sons donate every year on behalf of their parents.
With the unique challenges that have already faced recent high-school graduates in the past few years, Porter says it’s more gratifying than ever to help local students continue to succeed.
“It’s not just money we’re giving these kids,” she says. “It’s us saying to them that this community believes in them, that they can continue in school and make a difference in their lives.”
More information about the Cottage Grove Community Foundation’s scholarship and grant programs can be found at cgcfoundation.org or by calling 541-942-0014.