Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation
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The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation is a privately funded, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides academic scholarships to children of United States Marines and Navy Corpsmen, with particular attention given to children whose parent was killed or wounded in combat, and those with demonstrated financial need. The Scholarship Foundation is the Nation's oldest and largest provider of need-based scholarship to military children. Their funding is provided by private supporters, including individuals, corporations, and other nonprofit foundations. The organization's slogan is "Honoring Marines by Educating Their Children."
Since its founding in 1962, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation has provided more than 30,000 scholarships, valued at over $80,000,000. For the 2013-2014 academic year, the Scholarship Foundation announced a record $6,600,000 in scholarships to 2,040 sons and daughters of U.S. Marines and Navy Corpsmen. The scholarships provide opportunities for students that cannot afford the full cost of higher education or vocational/technical training, while increasing their chances for success in their personal and professional lives. Scholarship recipients have Marine and Navy Corpsmen parents that are honorably discharged, active duty, retired, wounded in combat, and killed in action.
The Scholarship Foundation reports that: • 89% of their scholarship recipients attend 4-year colleges or universities • 45% are STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) majors • 52% are first-generation college students • 86% of scholarship recipients that begin school graduate with a degree, compared to the national average of 40%.
In addition, the Scholarship Foundation has been recognized by the Better Business Bureau for satisfying 20 out of 20 standards for charity accountability, transparency, and sound financial management.
The Scholarship Foundation's awards are primarily need-based. Qualified applicants must be the child of a Marine or Navy Corpsmen, and their maximum family income must not exceed that of the current pay scale of a sergeant major. The average household income of 2013 scholarship recipients was approximately $52,306.
The Scholarship Foundation cites the mounting toll of the War on Terror, the rising costs of education, and the maturation of a new generation of Marines as an urgent call for increasing support.
Scholarship applications increased by 81% from 2006 to 2013. To meet this increasing demand, and to plan for future generations, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation launched "The American Patriots Campaign" in 2007. The American Patriots Campaign is led by the American Patriots Campaign Leadership Cabinet, composed of former Commandants of the Marine Corps and luminaries from the worlds of business, entertainment, and philanthropy. To date, this drive has raised $65,000,000 in funds, which will allow the Scholarship Foundation to develop a sustainable, diversified base of support to increase their scholarship capacity for the next generation of Marine and Navy Corpsmen families.
Scholarship applications are accepted January 1 - March 1, annually, via the Scholarship Foundation's website.
The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation began by helping one child. In New York City in 1962, a group of service-minded Marines, led by Brigadier General Martin F. Rockmore, learned that a Marine World War II Medal of Honor recipient could not afford to send his child to college. Concerned, General Rockmore and his peers organized a charity ball that December, which raised $1,500 (1962 dollars); at the Ball, these funds were awarded as a scholarship to a single student. The annual charity ball, known as the New York Leatherneck Ball, continues to this day, and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012. The original event has inspired numerous balls, galas, golf tournaments, and other fundraisers across the country. Today, the Scholarship Foundation, with the assistance of volunteers across the country, hosts more than 35 fundraising activities annually.
Through its "Heroes Tribute for Children of the Fallen" and "Heroes Tribute for Children of the Wounded" scholarship programs, the Scholarship Foundation has made special commitments to the sons and daughters of Marines and Navy Corpsmen whose parent has been killed or wounded in combat.
The Chairman of the Scholarship Foundation's Board of Directors is Lieutenant General George J. Trautman III USMC (Ret.). Lieutenant General Robert R. Ruark USMC (Ret.) has served as the President and CEO of the Scholarship Foundation since 2017.
The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation is located in Alexandria, Virginia.