DERBY — The Valley Community Foundation awarded more than $175,000 to more than 60 scholarship funds to students pursuing higher education this year.

While many recipients are entering their first year of higher education this fall, some awards provide renewable tuition assistance for up to four years.

Civic organizations like rotary clubs and local businesses traditionally provide annual scholarships to Valley high schools. 

Now, more individuals and families are helping to create a pool of permanent scholarship funds.

With endowed scholarships, the schools know they will have money each year to support the academic endeavors of their graduating seniors.

“For many Valley residents, establishing a scholarship not only pays tribute to their family but it can also memorialize their name at a local high school,” said Sharon Closius, VCF president and CEO.

“Whether it’s participation on a sports team, the longevity of family history, or memorializing lifetime friendships that were made, establishing a scholarship to benefit local high schools is an investment in our community’s future and reflects the value of higher education.”

For years, VCF has worked with the Valley’s high schools to manage and administer scholarship funds. 

Rather than a high school holding the scholarship money in a CD or savings account, scholarships are established, managed and invested with VCF.

The high school continues to select the recipients of various scholarships, but the staff saves time and money by not administering individual savings accounts. 

The money is invested in a large pool that has historically yielded a better return, increasing the size of the fund and the distributable amount over time.

Donors may select eligibility requirements for the scholarship based on a student’s field of study, academic achievements, extracurricular activities, financial need, background or geography.

Some scholarships provide a single monetary award to a graduating senior pursuing higher education while others may be renewed throughout college.

Established in 2004, the VCF distributes approximately $1.6 million in grants each year to support the local nonprofit sector and the people it serves.

In addition to grantmaking, VCF works in strong partnership with The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven to promote philanthropy in Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour and Shelton and receives funding from the Gates Foundation and other preference funds at TCF that benefit the Valley.

Those interested in establishing a scholarship fund may contact Ms. Closius at 203-751-9162 or valleyfoundtion.org/howtosetupafund.

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