The Community Foundation of the New River Valley, which is based on Cambria Street in Christiansburg, has issued its annual call for scholarship applications.
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/.
The application process began on Thursday, Oct. 1, with a deadline of Feb. 1, 2021. Recipients will be announced in April of 2021.
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. Since its founding, the foundation’s scholarship program has awarded more than $729,000 to 690 students from more than endowed scholarship funds. Individuals, families and NRV businesses establish the funds, which the foundation invests for long-term growth. The foundation also manages the application process.
Each scholarship fund has its own criteria designed specifically to meet the unique interests of the donor and to ensure that an opportunity exists 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 $108,000 in scholarships to 81 students from across the NRV. The 2020 group of scholarship winners was one of the most diverse to date with 26% of the winners being first generation college students.
The 2020 recipients are attending a wide range of colleges with 85.2% staying in the state of Virginia and 12.34% attending out-of-state college. More than 50% of the students will be staying in the New River Valley with 38.3% attending Virginia Tech, 18.52% attending Radford University and 8.6% going to New River Community College.
The COVID-19 pandemic prevented donors, recipients and their families from gathering at the Annual Scholarship Awards Dinner, but many recipients and donors alike expressed their gratitude for scholarships in such an uncertain time. Tracey Linkous established the Living4Bri Scholarship in 2019 following the loss of her daughter, Brianna.
“We are so pleased to be growing our Living4Bri Scholarship Memorial with the Community Foundation,” Linkous said. “With the help of the foundation, we are able to offer opportunities to Christiansburg High School graduates pursuing a future in nursing. We have created a legacy for our daughter and are able to participate in the future education of those in our community.”
The fund awarded its first scholarship this year to Jessica Kniskern, “I am deeply honored to be chosen for the Living4Bri Scholarship Fund,” Kniskern said. “I plan to pursue a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree from Radford University. It is my sincere hope that becoming a Registered Nurse will honor Bri’s memory as we shared an interest in nursing.”
Laura Pynn, the Administration and Programs Manager at the foundation, said, “Overseeing this program is my favorite part of my role at the foundation. I’m proud of the diversity that our scholarships offer to students in our region.
“We have a scholarship fund available to anyone who has a dream of achieving a degree in higher education,” Pynn said. “With the coronavirus, we realize that many of our 2021 students will have unique senior years like the class of 2020 did. I am proud that we are offering these scholarships during the pandemic to deserving students who have worked hard to get to this point. I encourage all eligible NRV students to apply now, and I hope to have the opportunity to meet recipients this year.”