Community members provide more scholarship opportunities for Alaskan students than ever before

March 19, 2021

Following a year of limited class-time and interrupted learning, many Alaskan students are on the lookout for new academic opportunities. Their communities are eager to help; scholarship funds through The Alaska Community Foundation are open now, in greater numbers than in any previous year. 

Of the sixty-seven scholarships available through The Alaska Community Foundation, forty-five are currently accepting applications. They cover a broad range of eligibility criteria, including academic successes, athletic accomplishments, intent for vocational training, and geographical location, so that every student has the chance to find their own perfect fit.  

Most scholarship funds are established by or for some of Alaska’s most beloved community members. Mr. Donald DeWitt of Fairbanks dedicated many years to teaching math at Lathrop High School and West Valley High School, and quietly began providing scholarship funds to Fairbanks North Star Borough students in 2010. His devotion to his students’ success outlived him, and his estate continues to support their academic pursuits. The 2021 Donald R. DeWitt Scholarship is accepting applications through March 31st and will provide two awards of $2,500 each in 2021.  

Senator Bettye Davis, too, left an indelible mark on her community. She began her career as a nurse and retired as a social worker, but continued to work tirelessly on behalf of Alaska, serving on the Anchorage School Board for 11 years. She served as an Alaska State Representative from 1990 to 1996 and, in 2000, became the first African American to be elected as an Alaska State Senator, in which position she remained until 2012. Senator Davis’ dedication to community, education, children’s issues, women’s rights, the advancement of minorities, and healthcare lives on in the Senator Bettye Davis Memorial Scholarship Fund, which supports women of color in their academic pursuits. Applications will be accepted through April 8th, with awards up to $4,000.  

“We saw a 50% drop in applications in 2020, which I feel is in direct correlation with COVID,” says Stefanie O’Brien, Senior Programs Officer of Grants and Scholarships at The Alaska Community Foundation. “Now, with virtual options available, campuses opening again, and vaccines made available for this age group, I look forward to our application numbers going up in 2021. That to me would symbolize a sense of hope that COVID is no longer postponing after-high school plans for Alaska’s students.” 

For a full list of scholarships, descriptions, and criteria, visit https://alaskacf.org/scholarships/