The Community Foundation of the New River Valley is pleased to announce its annual call for scholarship applications, which opened Oct. 1. High school students, college students and adults returning to college in the New River Valley can review more than 40 available scholarship opportunities and apply at https://cfnrv.org/scholarships/applicants-information/. Applications are due by Feb. 3, 2020, and recipients will be announced in April of 2020.

Established in 2002, the program aims to support the educational aspirations of students so that they can achieve their full potential, to nurture a skilled workforce in the region, and to cultivate future community leaders. It has grown steadily over the past 17 years, awarding almost $621,000 to 619 students from more than 40 endowed scholarship funds.

Individuals, families and NRV businesses establish the funds, which the CFNRV invests for long-term growth. The CFNRV also manages the application process. Each scholarship fund has its own unique criteria, meeting the unique interests of the donor and ensuring that there is an opportunity for students of all kinds to earn a scholarship.

Last year, the foundation celebrated the largest year of the program to date, awarding more than $80,000 in scholarships to 67 students from across the NRV. The 2019 group of scholarship winners was also one of the most diverse yet, with almost a quarter of the cohort comprised of first-generation college students. Recipients are attending a wide range of colleges, many within the region and some ranging as far abroad as Rome, Italy. Virginia Tech (22 recipients) and Radford (9 recipients) were the most popular destinations in the 2019 cohort.

Scholarships can make the difference between a student’s choice of college and, in some cases, whether they attend college at all. Scholarship recipient Jessica Sun shared that the scholarship funds she received from the foundation were vital to her ability to pursue higher education: “I would never have come to Virginia Tech and relaunched Active Minds and even the women’s Table Tennis team. I would never have continued my work with Kids Are Scientists Too. I would never have been on track to complete my degree in computer science and work as a software engineer to support my parents. I have so much gratitude for scholarships and the donors that fund them. I have them to thank for my successes. Behind every successful person is a network of supporters, and I am proud to have the Community Foundation be part of that group.”

Laura Pynn, administration and programs manager at the CFNRV, said: “Overseeing this program is my favorite part of my role at the foundation because I believe so completely in the transformative power of these scholarships for the students and for the region. Our community grows stronger with every dollar we can use to support the dreams that higher education affords.

“We have a wide and diverse array of scholarship funds. Whether you are a child of a law enforcement officer, or a veteran of our armed forces, or a parent who wants to return to school, we have a scholarship fund for you. Please apply early. I can’t wait to meet our 2020 recipients, and I encourage all eligible NRV students to apply now.”

Submitted by Claire Gilbert

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