A leg up on higher learning
Community Foundation offers scholarships to local students
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — Each year the Marshfield Area Community Foundation (MACF) awards more than 50 scholarships to area students in multiple disciplines. The MACF publishes a list of all the scholarships they offer and scholarships that are accessible via other entities as a public service to the community.
All of the scholarships offered by MACF and corresponding applications can be found on their website, marshfieldareacommunityfoundation.org. Scholarships are offered in the fields of business, construction, dairy science, dance, journalism, marketing, nursing, theater, and many more. There are also scholarships available for non-traditional students.
All of the scholarships set up through the community foundation are funded by individual donors from the community.
“They’re (the scholarships) all from the community. So they’re from people who valued education and wanted to help other people get a good education,” said Amber Kiggens-Leifheit, executive director of MACF.
Kiggens-Leifheit said that in 1997 a single scholarship was awarded, and in 1999 four were given out. Last year MACF awarded 52 scholarships worth an estimated $60,000. A scholarship selection committee determines the merit of applicants for each scholarship.
Only 4 or 5 percent of an entire scholarship fund is awarded each year. The rest of the money is invested so that the funds continue to grow and are available every year.
“At 4 or 5 percent, historically—it’s invested in the stock market—the stock market has done better than that, so none of (the scholarship funds) have been depleted. They are here forever,” Kiggens-Leifheit said.
Most of the scholarship applications are open now, and many are due by the end of January, February, or March. Kiggens-Leifheit added that despite the foundation’s best efforts, many scholarships go unclaimed or have very few applicants.
“We probably had 10 scholarships last year that no one applied for, so they went unpaid,” she said. “That’s why I’m trying to get the word out, because these (donors) really don’t want them to be unclaimed. They’d rather give the money away and help someone.”
Connecting people with causes
The mission of MACF is “connecting people who care with causes that matter to enrich the quality of life in the Marshfield area.” Currently, the foundation holds about $12 million in funds and last year gave about $325,000 to various causes and organizations in the community. Since its inception in 1993, MACF has given $4.1 million back to the community.
Kiggens-Leifheit described the foundation as an “umbrella organization” for fundraising groups that may not have their own non-profit status. She added that many organizations choose to conduct fundraising through MACF because the foundation is well respected and established.
Wildwood Pavilion, Hamus Park, Marshfield Area Pet Shelter, The Library and Community Center Capital Campaign, and the Marshfield Skatepark are just a few examples of projects or organizations that have conducted their fundraising through the community foundation.
“It’s been a way for the community to build all these nice facilities,” Kiggens-Leifheit said.
For questions about Marshfield Area Community Foundation or the scholarships they offer, contact Amber Kiggens-Leifheit at 715-384-9029 or via email at [email protected].