In partnership with generous individuals, families, and organizations, the scholarship team at The Denver Foundation adapted quickly to the new realities of higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic in March.
As students began packing up their dorm rooms and leaving campus for an indefinite amount of time, Foundation staff worked diligently to ensure that scholarship funding continued to provide a reliable foundation for students’ education.
Several programs pivoted where previous practices proved unsafe or infeasible in the new normal. Funding that required students to engage in on-campus learning or paid student employment was adjusted immediately to allow for waivers. Volunteer selection committee members moved their spring deliberations entirely online, convening in Zoom calls instead of conference rooms. Dozens of application deadlines were extended as students deliberated returning to campus in the fall. This flexibility across scholarship administration proved essential in ensuring continued scholar success.
Even while many practices were changing, scholarship funds at The Denver Foundation remain a significant force in helping students and their families afford college in Colorado and beyond. More than $3M in scholarship grants have already been disbursed in 2020, supporting more than 630 students. This amount represents a 19% increase over the same period in the previous year. With the continued expansion of the Reisher Scholars Program and additional new partnerships expected to grant in the fall, donors will support the highest number of students during the 2020-21 academic year in the history of the Foundation. This milestone reflects the critical role higher education continues to play in our society as our community works towards recovery.