Merit-based Scholarships for Outstanding Community Service

Merit-based Scholarships for Outstanding Community Service

If you’re someone who dedicates their free time to assisting others, you likely understand the advantages that come with such altruistic endeavors. By contributing positively to your community, you not only make a difference but also gain valuable life experiences that contribute to your personal growth.

However, there’s an additional perk that you might not have considered: engaging in community service can also be a lucrative means of supporting your college education.

Numerous universities and organizations highly value individuals committed to making a positive impact on the world.

Providing scholarships to students who have devoted their time to enhancing the well-being of others is one way these institutions contribute to fostering positive change.

Participating in community service offers various advantages, including an opportunity that may not be widely recognized: the potential to earn scholarship funds for your college education. By building a positive history of charitable activities, you could qualify for scholarships specifically awarded for community service efforts.

Here are a few instances of scholarships aimed at supporting your education costs through volunteering experiences:

Merit-based Scholarships for Outstanding Community Service

 The Scholarship: offers accessible scholarship opportunities for individuals aged 25 or younger. By participating in one of their campaigns, such as creating a card for a service member or drawing a superhero to motivate students, you stand a chance to win a significant scholarship.

Following the completion of a campaign (you can participate in multiple), you are required to upload a picture.

The selection of winners for each campaign is done through a random drawing by, and the results are typically announced three to four weeks after the campaign concludes.

The Equitable Foundation:

The Equitable Foundation has distributed more than $30 million in scholarships for community service to students nationwide. The Equitable Excellence Scholarship is open to high school seniors who exhibit courage, strength, and wisdom through impactful volunteer service in their communities.

Eligible students have the opportunity to receive scholarships valued at $2,500, $10,000, or $25,000, and the winning students’ schools will also be granted $1,000.

The Gloria Barron Prize Scholarship:

The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes is awarded to individuals aged 8 to 18 who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and positively influenced people, communities, and the environment.

Past recipients have:

  • Delivered essential supplies like food, backpacks, and warm coats to underserved communities.
  • Established an environmental nonprofit that introduces native fish aquariums to classrooms.
  • Raised funds to support research on rare pediatric diseases.

Every year, 25 outstanding young leaders are granted $10,000 scholarships for their impactful community service.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Scholarship:

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards has been acknowledging over 140,000 students for their community service efforts since 1995. This recognition was initially under the former Prudential Spirit of Community Awards and now continues through the Emerging Visionaries initiative. The awards vary based on the type of scholarship honoree:

  • State honoree: Receives a $1,000 scholarship and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., or a virtual event, depending on circumstances.
  • National honoree: Earns a $5,000 scholarship and a $5,000 grant to contribute to a nonprofit charity of their choice.
  • Eligible applicants are students in grades five through 12, and the award extends its recognition to youth volunteers in countries such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Ireland, India, mainland China, and Brazil.

The Bonner Leader Scholarship:

The Bonner Leader Program is a comprehensive four-year initiative that grants scholarships and work-study opportunities to students. In addition to financial support, participants will receive training in leadership and social justice.

To get more details, you can apply directly through one of the program’s campus partners. For instance, Averett University in Danville, Va., provides a $1,200 annual stipend.

The Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship:

The Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship, since 2001, Comcast has distributed over $33 million in scholarships for community service to around 30,000 students. High school students who win the Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship are awarded a one-time $2,500 scholarship, with the chance of receiving additional awards.

The selection process for this scholarship considers applicants’ academic achievements, community service involvement, and leadership abilities.

The Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship:

The Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship Program acknowledges individuals aged 21 or younger who have dedicated at least 100 hours to volunteer work at a Veterans Affairs medical facility.

Scholarships for volunteers are granted in varying amounts, namely $5,000, $7,500, $10,000, $15,000, and $20,000.

The Princeton Prize:

The Princeton Prize in Race Relations is designed to commend high school students for their positive contributions to race relations within their schools or communities.

Applicants need to be enrolled in high school and require sponsorship from a teacher, advisor, community leader, or another source.

Recipients of this award are granted a $1,000 scholarship along with covered travel expenses to participate in the university’s annual Symposium on Race.

The GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship:

The GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program offers financial assistance to students engaged in volunteer work and community service.

Eligible candidates include high school seniors, including those on U.S. Armed Forces bases or undergoing home-schooling, who exhibit outstanding qualities such as leadership, determination, integrity, and good citizenship.

Recipients of the scholarship are awarded $10,000 annually, with a total maximum amount of $40,000. This monetary support can be utilized to cover various educational expenses, including tuition, fees, books, supplies, or accommodation costs.

The Zonta International Foundation:

The Zonta International Foundation has granted 971 scholarships to 819 female recipients since 1990 through the Young Women in Public Affairs Award. Eligible candidates for this award are women between the ages of 16 to 19 in Zonta districts and regions, or those who are citizens of a Zonta country. The award details are as follows:

  • District awardees receive $1,500.
  • From the district recipients, 10 international awardees are selected to receive an extra $5,000.
  • Applicants are required to demonstrate a track record of leadership accomplishments to be considered for the award.

The Davis-Putter Scholarship:

The Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund recognizes and supports students dedicated to advancing social justice. Recipients are selected based on their commitment to social activism and evident financial challenges.

While scholarship amounts may differ, the highest possible award is $15,000.

The Brower Youth Awards Scholarship:

Brower Youth Awards offer a chance for individuals dedicated to environmental conservation to be recognized. Eligible candidates, aged 13 to 22, have the opportunity to secure one of six awards, each accompanied by a $3,000 grant, a professionally crafted short film showcasing their efforts, and a weeklong excursion in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Step By Step Guide To Find A Community Service Scholarship

There exists a diverse array of community service scholarships originating from various sources such as charities, governmental bodies, religious organizations, and universities.

These scholarships serve different purposes, including covering tuition expenses or supporting initiatives for charitable projects and additional volunteer work.

While many of these scholarships may not be widely promoted, a multitude of opportunities is available. If you do not find a relevant scholarship in the provided list, consider conducting an online search based on your interests or the specific type of community service you have engaged in.

High school students can also seek guidance from college and financial aid counselors, who may be aware of both local and national opportunities, as well as scholarships linked to volunteer programs within the school.

Furthermore, inquire with the organizations where you volunteer, as churches, religious groups, hospitals, and various community clubs often offer awards to assist students with their educational expenses.

How to Submit Applications for Scholarships in Community Service

Each scholarship featured comes with its unique application process and eligibility criteria. It is advisable to initiate your exploration of the scholarships you find intriguing well in advance to avoid missing any deadlines. Early planning can also enhance your likelihood of qualifying for multiple scholarships.

Many of the scholarships listed have precise eligibility requirements. If you are seeking involvement in a community service project without a specific goal in mind, consider selecting an activity that aligns with the criteria for one or more of these awards.

Keep in mind that your community service endeavors may make you eligible for various scholarships. Apply for all the scholarships you meet the criteria for, and don’t be discouraged by the language used in the requirements—taking a chance is always worthwhile when it comes to securing funds for college!

A crucial tip is to apply early and apply frequently. Not all these scholarships are exclusive to high school seniors or college students.

By starting the application process in 9th grade or even earlier, you can get a head start on accumulating funds for your college education.


Scholarships for community service present an excellent opportunity for students to contribute to their college expenses. These awards are granted to individuals who have shown a dedication to aiding others, providing financial assistance for their higher education journey. Beyond the financial support, these scholarships offer the chance to acquire valuable skills and experiences. Engaging in community service enables you to explore diverse cultures, lifestyles, and social issues, fostering the development of leadership, communication, and teamwork abilities. These skills prove beneficial not only throughout your college years but also in shaping your future professional endeavors. Community service scholarships are mutually beneficial, providing a positive outcome for aspiring college students and the broader community alike.

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