FORT MYERS, Fla. (Dec. 18, 2014) – The Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s scholarship application process for the 2015-2016 school year will begin on Friday, Dec. 19. Approximately $450,000 in scholarship money is available through 40 scholarships for local high-school students and through 23 scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students from Lee, Charlotte, Glades, Hendry and Collier counties.

The E-Apply online scholarship application tool can be accessed through the Community Foundation’s website at Students may review the scholarships available online as well as a tutorial about how to create and submit the online application.

Students may apply for multiple scholarships and have the ability to upload transcripts, SAT/ACT scores, letters of recommendation and financial documentation (if required). For need-based scholarships, students are required to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The deadline for applications is March 2, 2015.

“We have scholarships for vocational students, not just for attendance at colleges and universities,” said Melanie Holaway, scholarship coordinator for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. “We are working hard to educate local students on the various types of funding available.”

According to Holaway, examples of some of the more unique scholarships not as highly sought after include scholarships for students with disabilities, student athletes, students pursuing a specific field of study such as teaching deaf or blind individuals, specific church membership or community service hours in a particular facility such as a Veterans Hospital, adult students going back to school, students from particular schools or communities, and students pursuing a graduate or professional degree.

New scholarships this year include the Dorothy Curtis Brown Scholarship for a student interested in studying early-childhood education in an accredited college or university in Southwest Florida to obtain a Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential or an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.

The Norman Marcus Scholarship is modeled for a student who graduated from Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry or Lee County and who can demonstrate financial need. This scholarship is for four years or for such a time as will allow the student to complete a college or graduate degree.

The Former Graduate of Everglades City Scholarship provides high-school seniors who are full-time residents of Everglades City a scholarship renewable up to four years.

The Lee County Library Sciences Scholarship Fund for  $1,250 will provide scholarships for Lee County residents pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in library science. Eligibility requirements call for the student to have completed at least 60 semester hours, have at least a “B” average and to provide 120 hours of service, paid or unpaid, to Lee County Library System while pursuing the degree or immediately following degree completion.

The Community Foundation chose the month of December as the launch date after receiving numerous calls from students who wanted to be able to work on scholarship application submissions during winter break. In 2014, the Community Foundation awarded $450,000 in scholarships.

With a streamlined online application process, students are not required to submit paper applications.

As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation, founded in 1976, connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $80 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $60 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, the Foundation granted more than $2.8 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services. The Foundation granted $782,000 in nonprofit grants including more than $400,000 in regional community impact grants and additional $450,000 in scholarship grants.

For more information about the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, call 239-274-5900 or visit