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Berrien Community Foundation Announces New Scholarship Programs


At the Berrien Community Foundation, 2017 offers two new scholarship programs for students returning to college along with many opportunities for high school seniors. All applications are available for download at www.berriencommunity.org/scholar.

The newest scholarship is the Felland Scholarship, established by Judy Felland to serve women in transition. Realizing the difficulties some women face as they try to return to school while working and raising a family, Felland created the scholarship to encourage them to keep trying to improve their lives and the lives of their families through education. The scholarship is for a maximum of $5,000 and is targeted at students who plan to attend local schools such as Lake Michigan College, Southwestern Michigan College, Western Michigan University South West or Andrews University. 

The Felland Scholarship is fashioned after a similar scholarship established by Ed Dunn to honor his wife Jeanne. The Dunn Scholarship is open to both men and women but preference is given to women returning to school. The Dunn Scholarship offers up to $5,000 to assist a student attending a College in Berrien County

Similar to the Felland Scholarship, the Dunn Scholarship is meant to encourage and help those who wish to complete a college education after going through a major transition like the loss of a spouse or returning to college after raising children.

“So many people find themselves in need of additional training to succeed in today’s workforce,” said BCF President Lisa Cripps-Downey. “These scholarships mean so much to the recipients. Often it is the difference between being able to fulfill their dream of getting a college degree or having to wait.”

In VanBuren County, the newly established Arthur and Bonna Vanderlyn Scholarship is open to adults returning to school and high school seniors who are graduates of Hartford High School. The scholarship was established in 2016 by Bonna Vanderlyn to honor her husband Arthur and celebrate his love of the Hartford community.  This scholarship is for up to $3,000 per year. There is also a Arthur and Bonna Vanderlyn Scholarship available for current graduating seniors from Hartford High School.

Berrien Community Foundation has been helping students achieve their college goals for over 20 years and provides more than $130,000 each year in scholarships to deserving students from all over Berrien County. From engineering to teaching to music, the Foundation has scholarship opportunities for graduating high school seniors and adults returning to school. The application deadline is March 6.

“A common misconception is that scholarships are only available for straight A students,” said Susan Matheny, BCF Grants/Scholarships Officer. “Many of our scholarships are for students at a 2.5 GPA and above with the emphasis on their volunteer work, interests, or their intended field of study.”

 Scholarship selections will be made by BCF volunteers and a celebration for the scholarship recipients will be held in June. The annual scholarship banquet provides an opportunity for donors to meet with students and learn more about their future plans.

 “We have provided over $2.6 million in scholarships to local students,” said Berrien Community Foundation President Lisa Cripps-Downey. “It is because of the generosity of donors who see the need and step up to give that we are able to provide this assistance.”

Berrien County students are encouraged to visit www.berriencommunity.org/scholar for a complete list of available scholarships and criteria. Students can also check with their high school counselors for applications. Decisions will be announced in early May. Please visit www.berriencommunity.org for more information or contact the Berrien Community Foundation at susanmatheny@berriencommunity.org or by calling 269-983-3304 Ext. 4.