Monday, April 3, 2017

Effective College Scholarships

Kathleen Sayce, April 2, 2017

Not all scholarships are applied for every year when each crop of seniors graduates from high school and prepares for higher education. We talked to college counselors at several local high schools and learned that this is normal. But why? For college bound students, even a few hundred dollars helps, so we looked in more detail at why this happens, to see if there are guidelines to use when making and managing scholarships that overcome common problems. 

We learned some interesting facts about college scholarships and student behavior. Graduating seniors will often not apply if:
  1. Awards appear to be highly competitive. 
  2. Applications use unique forms or have special application requirements.
  3. Applicants have to hunt for information on what, when, and how to apply. 
  4. The amount awarded is small.
  5. The way awards are made is complex. 
  6. The area of study for the award is obscure. 

For each problem that surfaced, there is a solution that may help:

Competition:  This may be coverage, as in a large geographic area, or study area of focus, or looking for one outstanding student instead of several. If you are planning a new scholarship, think about writing the criteria to make yours seem possible to win by more students. Not every scholarship can pick from 'the best of the best' across multiple schools. Nor should it. The students who do best in life aren't the A+ group, but the B group. They learn early how to work harder, and keep doing so all the way through life. Think Honor Roll, but not Valedictorian. 

Application Forms and Requirements:  Use standard forms! Keep unique requirements to a minimum—an essay or letter. Don’t create all new forms and an all new process. 

Institutional Information about Scholarships:  Keep college counselors in local high schools informed about new and ongoing scholarships. Consider using electronic posting services. In Washington, this includes The Wash Board, a statewide site for high schools, colleges and scholarship providers. Students log in, and see relevant scholarships by geographic area and area of study—it’s much simpler than in past decades. It also gives high schools one place to see all the scholarships that each one offers. 

Clarity:  Every scholarship begins with a great idea—to help future students with higher education. Keep this in mind when you set out the goals for successful applicants. Be clear. Be concise. Be consistent. Be especially clear about what the student needs to do, after having been chosen, to apply for the funds. 

Awards:  Bigger is better. One thousand dollars ($1,000) is a good starting point. Five thousand ($5,000) is better. One year is good. Four years of awards is better. ‘Full rides’—tution, room and board, and money for books, for four full years is fantastic. Think about adding to an existing fund to increase the size of its awards rather than starting a new, and much smaller one. 

Award Timing and Process:   Does the student apply for her or his award after their first term is complete? Or after the first or second year? Clarity is important. Set out the timing to apply for the funds, and how to apply very clearly. 

Area of Study:  Don’t be too specific—your original focus of study may disappear in a few years or a decade. Cultures change. Times change. Departments change. Studies change. Be flexible looking into the future. 

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Scholarships are a wonderful idea, a way to help generations of students who come after you to gain training that helps them on to successful lives as adults. Those who get help along the way, in turn will help others when the time comes. And that’s the culture we want to encourage—one where those that can help those who need, so that everyone gets by.  


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Why Use The Foundation For Scholarships?

March 2, 2017
Kathleen Sayce

I've been asked what services South Pacific County Community Foundation provides to local nonprofit groups for scholarship management three times in the past two weeks, so here's a summary:

1.  You do not need to set up a new stand-alone investment relationship to have your money invested.  Your money is co-managed with other Foundation monies in our investment accounts. As we grow, the cost of funds management decreases--you get this benefit. This reduces your Fund's management expenses every year. It also means you can benefit from investing in the securities market, and grow your Fund's money at more than current interest rates. 

2. You can check the status of your Fund at any time through our online accounting system. This includes expenses, income, donations, and donors to your Fund. The donor list is updated whenever a new donation is made to your Fund. 

3. Your Fund has its own webpage, including photos, other images, and text content, along with a donation portal on our website. 

4. Donors can make donations at any time convenient to them using a credit card. Donors automatically get a statement of donation for their IRS reporting. Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by federal tax law. 

5. The Foundation has an established protocol for scholarships, so you do not have to recreate a process. This includes timing to take in applications for the current year, review of eligibility, reporting awardees to appropriate high schools (in which you may participate each year), and generating checks to appropriate colleges or other educational institutions when the student is ready to use the funds.  

In sum, we leave choosing the students who get your scholarship to you, and do the rest. Or, if you prefer, we also make the selection for you, and announce this in your name each year at the appropriate high school. 

If you are interested in learning more, call the Foundation (360-665-5292 or 360-665-4766) or email at info@spccf.org. 




Monday, January 16, 2017

Happenings at the Foundation

As 2017 gets underway, it's time for an update on new funds at the foundation. Several new funds were started in 2016. Web pages for each one will follow shortly. Meanwhile, these funds are listed on our main donation page, and open for new donations. See our current list at: https://spccf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/list

Janet Mack Wilson Memorial Fund celebrates the life of a beloved wife, mother, active community member and mathematician from Bay Center, who died mid year.  This fund provides up to two $5,000 scholarships in fundamental sciences and engineering to graduating seniors of South Bend and Raymond High Schools. 
Donate to this fund: https://spccf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=1015

Natural Resource Center Fund was opened by the Friends of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. This dynamic group is starting a multi-year capital campaign. The refuge badly needs new offices. The Friends want to add visitor amenities that are usually not included in refuge building projects, so they asked the foundation for support in managing their capital campaign, and the board (of course) said 'Yes!'
Donate to this fund: https://spccf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=1016

Pacific County Marine Resources Committee Fund was started by the PCMRC to help bridge the gap between state funding and private donations for projects and events. PCMRC is an active county committee that supports habitat restoration, education and local science events in Pacific County. 
Donate to this fund:  https://spccf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=1014

South Pacific County Fisheries Trust Fund was opened by local fishermen to support retention of fishing permits in local waters. Commercial fishing is a key part of our economy. No one in south county wants to look up some day and see that there are no local commercial fishing boats or seafood processors. When permits come up for sale, often they are purchased by out of area processors or fishermen. Working with a local nonprofit fishermen's association, the foundation will transfer donations to the appropriate entity to buy out permits, which will then be leased or sold to new incoming fishermen. 
Donate to this fund: https://spccf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=1017

Other funds are pending:  Wellspring Community Network is opening a fund soon to help fund some of their projects. Local residents contact us regularly about bequests, as a result we have several pending funds that will open in the future with significant bequests. 

Offering our best wishes for a happy and healthy 2017 to all! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Consumer Fraud Program, AKA Fraud Fair #1

Kathleen Sayce, October 11, 2016

When I worked for ShoreBank Pacific, I had to take annual classes in fraud prevention and awareness.  I learned that frauds are endlessly creative in coming up with new ways to part people from their money illegally. So when Teresa Glidden, WA OSOS, Consumer Protection Services, offered the state’s multi-office and departmental program in Consumer Fraud Protection, AKA the Fraud Fair, the Foundation said ‘Yes.’

Our first Fraud Fair was on October 10th on a lovely sunny fall afternoon. Twenty five people put aside the holiday to attend, including me, and it was worth every minute.



Six speakers from four offices and departments did four presentations on various aspects of consumer fraud. Topics include: 
  • several flavors of charity fraud, 
  • identity theft and its consequences (www.identitytheft.gov), 
  • how to talk to phone solicitors, opting out of pre-screened offers and sales offers (optoutprescreen.com and donotcall.gov), 
  • investment frauds with an emphasis on senior safe programs and elder abuse programs, and 
  • utility and transportation fraud. 


Those attending received magnetized lists of questions to ask telemarketers, helpful phone numbers for several state offices, including Office of Secretary of State Charities Division, State Attorney General Consumer Protection, Department of Financial Institutions Consumer Services, and Utilities and Transportation Commission Fraud Prevention. All of these agencies have online services for more education on frauds and fraud prevention. 



There were short video training sessions on how to deal with tele-marketers:  
ask for their names, the name of their firm, the name of the charity they are calling for, if they are registered in the state, how much of the money that is donated goes to the charity—I have the magnetized list now for easy reference. 



The presenters know the current phone scams going around:  police, sheriff and firemen’s charities, IRS scams, Microsoft scams, the stranded/arrested grandchildren scams. Missing bank card scams. And there are mail scams, Facebook scams, email scams. Funding for areas hit by natural disasters often appear overnight on Facebook, for example. Those communities never see a penny of that money. How much do scammers make? Around $3 billion per year. 



If you have money invested in stocks and bonds, there are other scams to watch for:  unregistered brokers. Unregistered stocks and bonds. The Nigerian Prince. The deal too good to pass up. Licensed financial services people are registered with the state. You can check this online or by calling DPI (877-746-4334) or www.dfi.wa.gov. 



Bottom line on scams:  Trust, but verify the sources independently first. Ask questions. If you are scammed or suspect a scam, tell people (friends, family, local professionals), tell these state offices and agencies. Only one in every 44 people who is scammed ever says anything. Don’t let the con artists talk you into keeping silent. You can always say no, hang up, and block that calling number. 

The Foundation is going to offer this training again next year. If you would like to be notified when this is scheduled, please send your name and email address to info@spccf.org. We will add you to our email list. As a public charity and a nonprofit corporation, SPCCF is registered with the Washington Office of Secretary of State. We know you can find us on the state’s registry!


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fraud Fair!


 Consumer Protection Washington to offer consumer tips on Long Beach Peninsula 

OLYMPIA…Consumer Protection Washington, a group of consumer protection outreach specialists from several state and federal agencies and organizations, including the Office of Secretary of State’s Charities Program, is presenting a consumer protection event Oct. 10 in Klipsan Beach. 

The event, which runs from 1 to 4 p.m., will be at the Peninsula Senior Activity Center, 21603 “O” Lane, Klipsan Beach. 

The free event, sponsored by the South Pacific County Community Foundation, will include presentations and resources on charity scams, identity theft, senior-targeted scams, Medicaid fraud, utilities fraud and other topics. 

People are encouraged to follow Consumer Protection Washington’s Facebook page for tips and resources to protect themselves and their loved ones from scams and fraud: www.facebook.com/ConsumerProtectionWashington . 

For more information about the presentations, contact Teresa Glidden, the Charities Program’s outreach and education coordinator, at (360) 725-0373 or teresa.glidden@sos.wa.gov. 

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When SPCCF first heard about the multi-agency Fraud Fair, the board immediately agreed that this is something our community needs. We hope that you can attend, part if not all, and come away with new information to help you live more secure lives. 


Monday, September 5, 2016

It's About Time! SPCCF Starts A Blog

And they're off!  After months of discussing, postponing and finally getting  started, South Pacific County Community Foundation has a blog. 


Every communications format has its benefits and limitations. Much of our foundation news is not 'newsworthy' to local newspapers. For attention-getting headlines, you will have to look elsewhere. Also for tsunami updates, weather, road closures. . .  

The foundation posts community foundation news here, about new funds, scholarship winners, upcoming seminars, and other information that is 'news-worthy' for community foundations and our community. The short notes go to Facebook. The in-depth, detailed articles are here.  

Also look for articles on why community foundations exist, who they help, and how they operate, noteworthy donors, rising community issues, and planning for the future. Community foundations focus on present conditions and planning better futures. 

The mission is:  Improving the quality of life in south Pacific County.  This does not mean that the rest of Pacific County is ignored. Far from it, the foundation works throughout Pacific County to bring foundation services to local nonprofit organizations and institutional organizations.   

To read more about SPCCF, see the website at www.spccf.org. 
To contact SPCCF, send an email to info@spccf.org.