Community Foundation of New Jersey

Alternatives to Traditional Scholarships

The ways to support education are as dynamic as learning itself. The scholarships provided by the Community Foundation provide a good illustration of how donors can be creative in changing the lives of young people. The Community Foundation supplements its traditional scholarships by supporting alternative scholarships that encourage learning on many different levels.

“We want to invest earlier in children’s education experiences — to help get those kids who wouldn’t have thought about college to think otherwise, and to expose other young students to facets of the world that they might not have otherwise thought of,” says Hans Dekker, President of the Community Foundation. “Alternative scholarships cost less than traditional scholarships, but have a phenomenal impact in enriching young lives.”

For example, the Community Foundation provided funding for enrichment activities of seven young women from Paterson. Some of the activities paid for through the Eleanor Stinson Mills Fund included a Princeton Review SAT course and a seat at the National Young Leaders Program in Law located in Washington, DC. The girls, selected from a program of the Paterson Education Fund, come home “bubbling with enthusiasm and new ideas,” says Irene Sterling, Director of the Education Fund.

The Community Foundation also supported New Jersey SEEDS to provide nine paid summer internships for students to work in a nonprofit organization. The program teaches participants the value of community involvement and enriches their work ethic. For instance, Misha Hill took an internship at the Burlington County Chapter of the American Red Cross. During her time there a flood hit the area that damaged 400 homes and required 16,000 meals to be served. Misha became so involved in the effort that she stayed after-hours, volunteering her time to help. The experience was so positive for her that she will be continuing her work during her breaks from Princeton Day School.

Creative giving in education provides distinct opportunities for students to learn on many different levels, and in ways they would not have considered otherwise. Contact the Community Foundation if you have ideas or would like to be involved in initiatives like these that create unique impact.