8771 College Parkway, Building 2, Suite 201

Fort Myers, FL 33919

Phone: 239-274-5900

Fax: 239-274-5930

FORT MYERS, Fla. –The Southwest Florida Community Foundation recently granted $761,650 and 135 scholarships through a competitive process to local high school students and undergraduate and graduate students from Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. For the second year, the Foundation awarded 25 of the scholarships as multi-year awards which will help the students each year until completion.

For the 2018 scholarship season, 393 eligible students applied, and their applications were reviewed by 111 volunteer reviewers.

“This year, we really focused on making our scholarship application and review process as accessible as possible,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “Outreach was key to ensure we received a pool of applicants from all over Southwest Florida. Through interactive presentations, we were able to teach students everything they needed to know to help them submit a scholarship application successfully. We also helped them gain a better understanding of the FAFSA Form.”

The Foundation’s new process allowed each applicant to submit one application and apply it to several scholarship funds they were eligible for. This enabled the students to get the most out of the application process and cut down on time spent on the application, so that they could focus more on completing the school year.

The Foundation also had more reviewers this year, 111, which allowed each applicant to receive three scores from three different reviewers.

“To contribute to the FutureMakers Coalition goal, we also required each applicant to submit their FAFSA Score Report,” Owen said. “By requiring the FAFSA, students gain experience with filling it out, open up other financial aid opportunities and give students who might not be considered ‘in need’ the opportunity to learn other avenues just in case their situation changes.”

According to Owen, examples of some of the more unique scholarships not as highly sought after included 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.

Details of the scholarships and a list of recipients can be found on the Foundation’s website at https://floridacommunity.com/2018-scholarship-recipients/or by visiting the website www.floridacommunity.comand clicking on “Scholarships” page.

New scholarships awarded this year include:

Dr. Janet Marderness Scholarship Fund

For a Fort Myers High School graduating senior, who attended Fort Myers High School during their junior and senior year, with a minimum 3.0 unweighted GPA. Students who applied must plan to study any math or science related fields at an accredited institution and need financial assistance.

James F. Chelius, Jr., Esq. Scholarship Fund

To provide a need-based scholarship to a Charlotte, Hendry or Lee County graduating senior who lettered in a high school sport with a minimum 3.0 high school grade point average (un-weighted).

Mrs. Cathy Riedel Scholarship Fund

For a Cypress Lake High School student who wants to pursue a career related to assisting people with special needs. Although preference was given to those who participated in the Special Olympics and who have aided in ESE classrooms, this scholarship award was not restricted to education majors; any public service career is included, such as police, fire, nursing, attorneys, physicians, etc.

Steven F. Lux Scholarship

To provide tuition support for the criminal justice students of the SWFL Public Service Academy.

USMC Cpl. Thomas J. Jardas Scholarship Fund

For a Cypress Lake High School senior who has at least a 3.0 GPA and is a JROTC Cadet, Media Center for the Arts Student or a Varsity Swim Team Member.

If you are interested in becoming a scholarship reviewer next year or starting a scholarship fund, contact the Southwest Florida Community Foundation at give@floridacommunity.comor call 239-274-5900.

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. It partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created more than 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, the Foundation invested $5 million in grants and programs to the community last year. With assets of $93 million, it has provided more than $67 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Community Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. Based in Fort Myers, it has satellite offices located in Sanibel Island, LaBelle (Hendry County) and downtown Fort Myers.