|Founder||Dr. Irving A. Fradkin|
|Key people||Lauren A. Segal (President)|
|Mission||To mobilize America, through scholarships and educational support, to make postsecondary success possible for all students.|
Scholarship America is a Minnesota-based American philanthropic organization that assists communities, corporations, foundations and individuals with fundraising, managing and awarding scholarships to students. The organization cites two main program divisions: Dollars for Scholars, a coalition of local scholarship organizations in communities across the United States, and Scholarship Management Services, which designs, administers and manages corporate and foundation scholarship programs.
Scholarship America also administers several special scholarship initiatives, including the Dreamkeepers Emergency Financial Aid program for community college students, and the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, which has to date distributed $91.7 million to dependents of those killed or disabled during the September 11, 2001 attacks, and will provide financial assistance to dependents in need through the 2030 academic year.
Dollars for Scholars was founded in 1958 by Dr. Irving Fradkin, an optometrist in Fall River, Massachusetts, and Scholarship America was officially chartered under the name "Citizens' Scholarship Foundation of America" on May 15, 1961. Scholarship America's President and CEO is Lauren A. Segal.
In fiscal year 2013, Scholarship America distributed more than $200 million to 100,000 American and international students through its programs. In 2012, Forbes ranked Scholarship America as the 83rd largest U.S. charity (out of 100) with total revenues of $155 million.
Dollars for Scholars, the initial program that would become Scholarship America, was originally conceived by Fradkin during a campaign for the Fall River school board in 1957, as a way of ensuring that community members could contribute to a city-wide scholarship fund through small donations. Fradkin lost the election, but began fundraising for Dollars for Scholars, starting the Fall River chapter in 1958.
Dollars for Scholars incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization in May 1961, under the name of Citizens' Scholarship Foundation of America (CSFA). During its early years, CSFA's headquarters moved from Fall River to Boston; to Concord, NH; and opened its first regional office in St. Peter, MN, in 1976, thanks to a grant from the Bush Foundation.
Also in 1976, CSFA expanded from its community-based Dollars for Scholars roots with the establishment of Scholarship Management Services (SMS), a branch of the organization designed to manage corporate scholarships. The Toro company of Minnesota became SMS's first client.
In 1984, the organization's board voted to move CSFA's headquarters to St. Peter, MN, where they remain today. That year, CSFA reached the $5 million mark in terms of scholarship funds distributed. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, the organization grew rapidly and launched its Collegiate Partner initiative (in which colleges agreed to maximize CSFA-related aid to students on their campuses) and ScholarShop program (a junior high and high school college-readiness curriculum.)
In September 2001, CSFA created the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund after the attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. With President Bill Clinton and Senator Bob Dole as co-chairs of the fundraising campaign, the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund raised more than $100 million, which it continues to distribute to the dependents of those killed or permanently disabled in the attacks, rescue and cleanup efforts.
On January 1, 2003, CSFA changed its name to Scholarship America; in the spring of that year, the organization surpassed the $1 billion mark in terms of funds distributed to students. As of the end of fiscal year 2013, Scholarship America had distributed more than $3.1 billion to 2 million students across the country.
Scholarship America identifies the following as its core programs and initiatives:
- Dollars for Scholars, Scholarship America's first program, is a nationwide coalition of local, community-based scholarship organizations.
- Scholarship Management Services designs, manages and administers scholarship, tuition assistance, loan management and other education programs for corporations, foundations and individuals.
- Scholarship America's Dreamkeepers program helps students stay in college when faced with an unforeseen financial emergency.
- The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, which is managed by Scholarship America, provides education assistance for postsecondary study to financially needy dependents of those killed or permanently disabled as a result of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
- Collegiate Partners are postsecondary institutions that ensure that scholarships awarded through Scholarship America programs help meet students' unmet financial needs. Some Collegiate Partners agree to match scholarships from Scholarship America programs, up to a specific dollar amount.
- The Scholarship America Dream Award, the organization's newest scholarship program, is a multi-year, performance-based scholarship fund targeted toward postsecondary completion. The scholarship program received its initial funding from proceeds from Katie Couric's book, The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy recognizes Scholarship America as one of America's largest nonprofits as part of its Philanthropy 400. In 2013, Scholarship America ranked #154 on the list. As of 2013, the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal recognized Scholarship America as Minnesota's second-largest charity.
Katie Couric, a supporter of Scholarship America, invited the organization to appear on her talk show, Katie, on two occasions: to celebrate its founder, Dr. Fradkin, and to announce the first class of Dream Award recipients.
In June 2014, Senior Vice President of Education Programs and Policy, Max Espinoza, represented Scholarship America at the White House. The visits included meeting President Barack Obama, as he signed an executive order to aid student loan debtors, and a roundtable discussion on college affordability with Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary of State Arne Duncan.
- "The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund". ScholarshipAmerica.org. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- "Lauren A. Segal, President & CEO | About Scholarship America". Scholarshipamerica.org. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- "Focus On The Finish Line: Scholarship America 2013 Annual Report". Retrieved 11 Jan 2014.
- "Scholarship America". Forbes. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
- Fradkin, Irving A.; Michael J. Vieira (2002). "The Foundation is Set". The Autobiography of Dr. Irving A. Fradkin, Founder; Citizens' Scholarship Foundation of America, Inc. with Michael J. Vieira (2nd ed.). Branden Books. p. 89. ISBN 0-8283-2080-2.
- Vance, Daniel. "Citizens' Scholarship Foundation of America". Connect Business Magazine. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- "Dole and Clinton on Scholarship Fund". ABCNEWS. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
- "The Philanthropy 400". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- "The List: Civic Nonprofits - Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal". Bizjournals.com. Retrieved 11 Jan 2014.
- "Scholarship America To Receive Portion of Proceeds from Katie Couric's Book". Scholarship America. ScholarshipAmerica.org. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- "Special Thanks to the Man Behind “Scholarship America”". katiecouric.com. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- "Meet The Man Behind Scholarship America". katiecouric.com. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- "Max Espinoza, Senior Vice President, Education Programs and Policy". Scholarship America. ScholarshipAmerica.org. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- Vaccaro, Adam. "Obama Signs Executive Order to Aid Student Debt Holders". Boston.com. Boston Globe. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- Gast, Sara. "College Affordability and Student Loans Discussed at White House Roundtable Event". ED.gov. http://www.ed.gov/blog/. Retrieved 30 June 2014.