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Scholarship Funding

The Columbus Citizens Foundation administers funds that support each of our scholarship programs: the Elementary School Grant Program, the High School Scholarship Program, the College Scholarship Program, and the Franco Zeffirelli Scholarship for the Arts.

A cornerstone of our scholarship funding is our Adopt-A-Scholar Program, which has received commitments of over $9 million dollars from our members and friends of the Foundation since the Program was established in 2001.

The Adopt-A-Scholar Program enables a member or friend of the Foundation to create a perpetual scholarship. The scholarship may be named in honor or memory of a loved one, or it may be anonymously funded and awarded. If the donor wishes, the scholarship may be directed to the school of his or her choice, such as his or her alma mater.

Scholarship recipients for all programs are chosen by the members of one of our scholarship committees, which are made up of Foundation members who review the applications of hundreds of deserving students annually.

The Adopt-A-Scholar Fund receives contributions at two levels. Perpetual Scholarships help fund the education of a new student every four years in perpetuity. Annual Scholarships are awarded to one student and expire when he or she has completed his or her four-year studies.

Donations to either program may be made in one lump sum, or pledged and paid over a four-year term, depending on the planning needs of the benefactor. All contributions are tax deductible.

Adopt-A-Scholar donations are recognized on a plaque in the Townhouse. The names of benefactors, or the person for whom the scholarship is named, are also published in Il Giornale and annual Columbus Celebration Journal. Benefactors have the opportunity to meet the student whose education they are funding, as well as his or her family.

Equally important to the Foundation are gifts to our general Scholarship Fund. These donations, which are also tax deductible, are unrestricted. The general scholarship fund receives the proceeds of our Columbus Week Celebration sponsorships as well as donations made by individuals, corporations and other entities.

An emerging component of our charitable work is the Foundation’s Partnership in Education Program. Through this initiative, the Foundation offers an educational institution one-third of the cost of a scholarship. The institution is required to contribute an additional third from its own scholarship funds and to find another benefactor for the remainder. The net effect is to triple the effective giving dollars offered by each partner in the program.

Screening Process:

The Columbus Citizens Foundation is highly selective in awarding scholarships. All students and their families must submit certified financial documents to an independent financial review service. Only after it's determined that the applicant has demonstrated financial need do we consider the application. Applications are reviewed based on several factors. In addition to documenting financial need and Italian heritage, applicants must submit school transcripts that reflect a consistent record of academic success. Other school records that reflect the student’s extra-curricular activities are also required. High school and college students must also document community service activities through letters of reference. These references are verified by the Foundation. Since each of the programs involves multi-year commitments, the Foundation also contacts the schools that the students are attending to verify that the recipients are maintaining a record of solid academic performance.