My group wants to fund but not administer a scholarship/grant
February 7, 2019 5:38 PM   Subscribe

A professional organization I'm involved with wants to fund a scholarship/grant for college students studying to go into our field. We don't want to deal with administering it and are happy to pay to have somebody else who knows what they're doing manage it. How can we do this? Is there a scholarship administration company you'd recommend?

At a recent board meeting for the local chapter of a professional organization I belong to, we agreed that we'd like to fund a scholarship/grant for college students planning to go into our area of work (risk management), but none of us knows how to make this happen.

What we're thinking at this point is that we would provide the funding (initial thoughts are $1,000 per year with a minimum commitment of 10 years funding), help set up the award criteria, and then pay the scholarship administration firm to handle it with periodic reports to us.

Is this reasonable? Have you worked with a company that does this kind of thing? Is there a better way to do this?

My online searches so far have not been helpful. We'd like to provide funding for students in or from our area, but unfortunately none of the colleges or universities in our region offer a risk management track or certificate, so we can't work with them directly.
posted by handknit 100% merino to Work & Money (13 answers total)
I strongly suspect that the problem you're going to run into is that if you have to pay someone to administer it, you'll be paying them more than the scholarship student. If you endow something at a school, they'll do it for you. Schools set up all sorts of criteria for scholarships. Can you contact a non-local risk management school and have them set up a scholarship for students from your area?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:26 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]

Best scenario idea: Pick the school near you that has the closest possible curriculum to what you want. Endow the scholarship and their College Advancement will administer the scholarship. Then work with their Continuing Ed center to develop an additional mini-curriculum or bridge program that will provide the extra training/certificate you need for risk management. (You decide whether you want to fund this certificate also or have candidates self-fund, and whether participation in the certificate is required to receive the scholarship.) Boom, you just got yourself some fully-trained employees, and the school increases its job placement numbers.
posted by Liesl at 8:12 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]

Seconding Liesl - my college (small, private, liberal arts) had scholarships they administered which were tied to specific donors and could be general or available to students in specific programs or with specific needs. If you can link up with a college with strong academic programs related to risk management, their financial aid or giving office may be the best prepared to work with you while not also having administrative costs that dwarf the scholarship money itself.
posted by augustimagination at 9:41 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]

Professional fundraiser and former university staffer here: Just give the $1k a year to the school as an annual, restricted gift. You're welcome to make a multi-year pledge (they will love you) but it's not required. Setting up an endowment is going to require at least $10k and is only going to spin off 5% a year, so you'd have to come up with a $20k corpus just to give away the $1k/year you're talking about. Call the development office and they'll walk you through it - and you'll help a fundraiser get a little closer to their giving goal.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:07 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]

What Sweetie Darling said.

The other route is to talk to your local Community Foundation, they do the exact thing that you're describing.
posted by desuetude at 7:18 AM on February 8 [3 favorites]

The non-profit i am a board member of has a local community foundation that administers our scholarship. So yes, look for a community foundation that operates as an umbrella foundation for other organizations and scholarships. It is quite common.
posted by RedEmma at 10:00 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]

In fact, if you say where you're located, I can probably provide you with the names of some community foundations.
posted by desuetude at 11:45 AM on February 8

Yep came here her to recommend community foundation.
posted by Miko at 7:18 AM on February 9

Thanks very much for the advice so far!

In fact, if you say where you're located, I can probably provide you with the names of some community foundations.

We're in the SF Bay Area. We'd like to focus on areas other than Silicon Valley, as they have their own chapter (as does Sacramento). So, SF, East Bay, North Bay...
posted by handknit 100% merino at 11:52 AM on February 14

San Francisco Community Foundation
Bay Area Community Foundation

The way that community foundations work, generally, is that they have a grantmaking programmatic agenda which awards grants funded by donor advised funds and cash donations to the community foundation, and then they also do management of things like memorial scholarships. They'll walk you through the options for managing the scholarship you want to fund.
posted by desuetude at 8:22 AM on February 15

Just a quick note that the Bay Area foundation linked above is in Michigan. (I was about to add them to my California prospect list...)
posted by Sweetie Darling at 1:55 PM on February 18

Oh, dammit, sorry about that.
posted by desuetude at 7:12 AM on February 19

Thanks for all your help! Ironically, after all this, one of our board members had a moment of inspiration and realized that the educational foundation we already make an annual donation to specializes in exactly this kind of thing: scholarships, grants, and internship programs for risk management students. We're now working with them to set something up where we'll provide the funding and some guidance and they'll do the work of administering it.
posted by handknit 100% merino at 1:21 PM on March 28

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