The Mount Vernon Chapter - MOAA - Scholarship Program
Beginning in the 1995-1996 timeframe, the Board of Directors of the Mount Vernon Chapter gave increasing thought to establishing a program for awarding grant money to deserving local area high school graduates of the Junior ROTC program. They formed a Scholarship Committee which proceeded to identify and resolve the organizational and legal matters necessary to establish a charitable fund supported by tax-deductible contributions. As the program took shape, an incorporation charter and bylaws were developed. They authorized the solicitation of funds and outlined the procedures for nominating applicants and for designating awards to graduating cadets who would attend accredited colleges, universities or other technical institutions and a college-level ROTC program. This program allows for the awarding of scholarships to deserving applicants who need not be military dependents to enter the competition, thereby extending the program to unconnected but potential future members of MOAA. The bylaws of the Scholarship Fund, which contain provisions for a Board of Directors and staff of officers - a President, a secretary, and a Treasurer - were approved by the Chapter Board of Directors. The President is the Fund’s point of contact and Board and staff positions are filled by volunteer Chapter members. The members of the Board of Directors function as the Selection Committee, under the guidance and governance of a Chairman who is not a Director. The bylaws contain a provision whereby a woman can supplement the Selection Committee as a subject area specialist for addressing matters of particular interest to female applicants.
Part of the challenge in developing such a program was in identifying the potential beneficiaries. It was decided to announce the scholarship competition in the fall of each year in connection with, but apart from the Chapter’s MOAA medals awards program at ten local high schools. The school officials and JROTC unit administrators at these institutions fully endorsed the Chapter’s objectives and generosity in supporting award recipients in their pursuit of commissioned military service and their potential eventual beneficial membership in MOAA.
The Chapter received its first member contributions in January 2002. The first Selection Committee was convened, and the first award of $500 was made in the spring of the same year. The initial implementation of the program was considered an unqualified success by the members of the Selection Committee and the Chapter members. The program matured as an increasing number of Chapter members came to believe in the objectives of the program and backed their beliefs with monetary contributions. Thus, in 2003, three cadets were provided grants totaling $1,750; in 2004, four cadets received awards amounting to $2,250; and in 2005, three cadets were awarded a total of $2,500.
As the Scholarship Fund increased, it received more and more publicity about the program within the Chapter and at the local high schools, Chapter members developed more interest in the purpose and intent of the program, and contributions increased to the point where $3,500 was awarded in 2006 to two outstanding women cadets. JROTC Senior Military Instructors at Hayfield Secondary School, and Thomas Edison, Quantico, Mount Vernon, and West Potomac High Schools nominated five more cadets who were honored for their achievements during the 2006-2007 Academic Year, and the total amount awarded to them reached $7,000.
The continued success of this important Chapter program was highlighted on May 21, 2008, when six deserving cadets were presented with checks totaling $8,500 at the Chapter’s regular monthly dinner meeting. Parents, Senior Military Instructors, and Chapter members were on hand to share in the rewarding experiences of the outstanding young men and women.
In the seven years of its existence, richly supported by Chapter members and friends, the Mount Vernon Chapter Scholarship Fund has provided monetary grants in the amount of $25,500 to 23 cadets. It fully expects the program to continue behind the enthusiastic support of the Board of Directors and Chapter members and friends.
The Mount Vernon Chapter Scholarship Fund
is duly registered as a charitable organization. The ultimate goal is to increase the principal of the Fund so that annual interest will pay the cash scholarship that will be awarded to a deserving JROTC student each year. The scholarship amount is currently set at $500. At current low interest rate levels, the Fund must increase substantially before it can pay the interest that will cover the $500 scholarship.
To join other Members in rewarding outstanding JROTC students, please send your tax-deductible contributions to: MVC/MOAA, P. O. Box 97, Mount Vernon, VA 22121-0097.
Checks should be made payable to: Mount Vernon Chapter Scholarship Fund