Charity work benefits the community by meeting the needs of others, cleaning up the environment or helping unite people for a cause. Charity work also benefits volunteers by helping them connect with their passion and learn more about themselves. It also can benefit volunteers by making them eligible for college scholarships. Some scholarships are service-based, with a mandatory requirement. Others are based on a past record of volunteerism.
One type of scholarship is offered in memory or honor of volunteers who made a difference. The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes is offered in memory of a woman who created a nature museum at the Colorado School for the Blind. The prize honors 25 young people, with the top 10 receiving $5,000 in cash, which can be used to support their service work or education. The Heart of America Foundation presents a $1,000 scholarship each year to a student who has demonstrated compassion in community service. The award is named for actor Christopher Reeve, who with his wife, Dana, opened a resource center to improve the lives of paraplegics.
Several national corporations offer scholarships to encourage and reward volunteerism. One example is Lowe's, which awards up to 140 $2,500 scholarships to high school seniors based on grades and a history of community service. Another example is The AXA Achievements Community Scholarship Program, offered by the foundation for AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company and its nonprofit partner, Scholarship America. Up to 12 scholarships, distributed through local AXA offices, are $2,000.
National Service Scholarships
The Corporation for National and Community Service offers post-service scholarship benefits. The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award provides cash awards to those who have successfully completed their service within the past seven years. The awards can be used only for college or to repay student loans. Those who have served in state or national AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps VISTA or the National Civilian Community Corps are eligible.
Some organizations offer cash awards to recognize young people for their volunteer service. These awards can be used for anything, including college education. One example is the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. Volunteers receive recognition at the local, state and national levels. State winners receive $1,000 cash, as well as a trip to Washington, D.C. National winners receive an additional $5,000 cash plus a $5,000 grant to their favorite charity.
- FinAid: The Smart Students Guide to Financial Aid
- Barronprize.org: The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes
- Lowe's: Lowe's Scholarship Program
- Prudential: The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards
- Heart of America: The Christopher Reeve Award
- Towson University: Community Service
- Corporation for National and Community Service: Segal AmeriCorps Education Award
Randi Hicks Rowe is a former journalist, public relations professional and executive in a Fortune 500 company, and currently a formation minister in the Episcopal Church. She has been published in Security Management, American Indian Report and Tech Republic.She has a bachelor's in communications, a master of arts in Christian education and a master of business administration.