Pooled Scholarships

[Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
edited June 2020 in Grants & Scholarships

We recently had a conversation with a new board member who wanted to know if he could donate a small amount of money for a scholarship. We had a long discussion about how we seek endowments on scholarships due to the amount of work involved….i.e. every scholarship has different criteria and is therefore a different process, etc. Plus, the amount he indicated was not enough to attract an applicant. We have several other endowed scholarship funds.

We would like explore developing a single, pooled fund for scholarships. At least 5-6 people in the past two years have wanted to give a flat amount for a scholarship – with no intention of endowing it (at least not immediately). We do not permit pass-through gifts as scholarships, but I believe we are missing out on opportunities.  

For our foundation a scholarship fund to pool one-time gifts would be manageable if the award criteria was broadly defined – broad enough to attract a larger pool of applicants without the need for massive marketing and outreach, and then we can make multiple named awards from the fund annually. That is, one process, one set of criteria, and a multiple number of scholarships based on the number of gifts. We would keep track of the gifts and assign a name or two to each award (based on the gift size).

For us this would add only one more scholarship process each year, but could result in potentially 5-10 additional scholarships (with 5-10 one-time gifts). 

This type of fund could attract more people into our family of donors (scholarships and hopefully others) and provide long-term value for student financial aid.

Are there any foundations who have a single, pooled fund for scholarships? If so, how do you operate it? What level of service fee do you charge? How is your application setup? How do you evaluate its impact and benefit to the organization?

Thank you!

KaraAdams (Former Community Manager)[Deleted User]HenryLemp


  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0

    @RandMorgan - thank you for the response. It would be great to connect with Lauren as we continue to explore this possibility. My email is [email protected] - the Clemmons Community Foundation in Clemmons, NC.

    KaraAdams (Former Community Manager)
  • LaurieSherckLaurieSherck Posts: 3
    First Compass Anniversary

    Thank you for asking this question. This is something we've considered doing as well. @RandMorgan How did you promote this program?

    [Deleted User]
  • RandMorganRandMorgan Posts: 40 ✭✭✭
    First Compass Anniversary First Comment Photogenic 5-Year Anniversary

    Hi, Laurie. We just re-tooled this scholarship fund and its criteria last year, and I guess it's fair to say that we really don't promote it much. It's basically a catcher's mitt for those who want to do something toward scholarships but don't have enough to meet the minimum required for a scholarship fund. I will attach the policy and criteria we updated for it. There were some other considerations regarding the recognition of the donors, etc. that we had to work through and which require a little more explanation, so give us a shout, and we would be happy to fill you in on those details.

    [Deleted User]HenryLemp
  • LaurieSherckLaurieSherck Posts: 3
    First Compass Anniversary

    Thank you so much. Very helpful information.

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0

    Yes, thanks @RandMorgan. Lauren and I spoke for a few minutes this morning - appreciate you connecting us! We're already cooking up some ideas and variations. 🙌

    KaraAdams (Former Community Manager)SammieHolzwarthHenryLemp
  • DaraGannonDaraGannon Posts: 26 ✭✭✭
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    I'm late to this thread, but some great discussion here. We are struggling with this question of a pooled scholarship fund. I posted this on another thread - Scholarship Fund Management Questions — Compass | Foundant

    We do have a general scholarship established by the Board with broad criteria. If we get a donation for scholarships or someone wants to do a one-year scholarship, we put it in that fund. We have also discussed putting smaller scholarships into this fund. Right now we don't charge a fee for one-year scholarships that use this fund, but we allow more specific criteria and a special award letter. If we do more of this or include multiple funds, we'll have to think about fees.

    It's been challenging to track these "special" scholarships especially when they have distinct criteria. For example, a private foundation gave us an unsolicited donation for scholarships in a certain geography, so we used our general fund. Perhaps they should be sub-funds in CSuite for tracking purposes.

    Curious if anyone else has input or updates since the question was first asked. Thanks!

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