Establishing a scholarship

Commemorative or named scholarships perpetuate a legacy, and each scholarship has a unique story to tell. Four of the most common reasons individuals, businesses or organizations set up commemorative scholarships are to: 

  • honor a living person, 
  • honor or perpetuate the memory of a deceased person, 
  • provide a special gift in one's own name, and 
  • collaborate as a group of people to honor a living or deceased person.

Commemorative scholarships can be established in a variety of ways. The most common type is an endowed scholarship. An endowed scholarship provides a way for a gift to last indefinitely. It usually pays tribute to a family member or other special person, living or in memory. A donor's gift of $25,000 or more is invested, and the annual interest earnings are distributed as scholarships in agreement with pre-established criteria determined by the donor.

Endowed scholarships can be established with the Midwest Foundation for Higher Education (MFHE) or Union College. The MFHE was incorporated in August 1986 as an independent, not-for-profit organization operating exclusively for the benefit of Union College students. The Foundation achieves this purpose by promoting the welfare, goals, programs and training of Union College through the use of scholarship grants, loans and other forms of financial aid.

Annual scholarships are another way to commemorate individuals. Donors who provide annual scholarships give a certain amount yearly, and the entire gift is awarded to the recipient(s).

The final option is a compromise between the endowed and annual scholarship. A donor can provide an annual gift from which a portion is used to award an annual scholarship and the balance is invested until the scholarship fund becomes fully endowed at the donor's desired level.

For more information on how to establish a scholarship contact Kate Kamarad in the Union College Advancement Office at 402.486.2503 or