Delaney Dewey-Harney attended Saugatuck High School and is double majoring in human biology and Spanish within Michigan State's Honors College, something she says wouldn't be possible without scholarships from the Allegan County Community Foundation. Courtesy
Higher education isn’t cheap.
“It is always a stressful period when the billing statement for the new semester is released, but (Allegan County Community Foundation) has helped lift this burden,” Michigan State University student Delaney Dewey-Harney says. “I owe a lot of gratitude and recognition to the Allegan County Community Foundation for making my career and lifelong goals possible!”
The ACCF supports local high school seniors as well as college and trade students through dozens of available scholarships.
The scholarships include college tuition as well as skilled trades programs. Last year the foundation distributed nearly 100 scholarships to recipients who were awarded more than $350,000. ACCF scholarships award students for accomplishments from the athletic to academic to community service. Scholarships can be based on what high school a student attends to what they plan to study.
The foundation offers scholarships for the nine Allegan County high schools as well as Bloomingdale and Gobles High Schools in VanBuren County.
Dreams made possible
Dewey-Harney attended Saugatuck High School and is now double majoring in human biology and Spanish within Michigan State's Honors College.
She received the Saugatuck Scholarship Foundation General Renewable Scholarship and the ACCF TAG Team Scholarship. In 2023 she was awarded the 2*3*4 Scholarship for her second, third, and fourth years of college.
“All of these scholarships have helped me immensely. I truly would not be where I am today if I did not have the resources and financial aid that the Allegan County Community Foundation has provided me,” Dewey-Harney says.
Delaney Dewey-Harney attends a large university, and scholarships are extremely competitive, often with very specific criteria.
“ACCF provides students an equal opportunity to obtain meaningful scholarships that make it possible for myself, and many other students, to attend college,” she says.
“A community foundation should be reflective of the community,” ACCF President/CEO Stephanie Calhoun says. “We have discovered that our community values sending our youth to post high school opportunities — so we value providing opportunities for our youth to experience post high school education/training.”
Some of the scholarships have upcoming deadlines. Bloomingdale High School scholarship applications are due by Feb. 26, Saugatuck High School by March 4, and other high school applications by March 18. Other scholarships have a May 6 deadline.
The Community Foundation has expanded its support of local high school and now administers most of the scholarship opportunities in Plainwell and Saugatuck, allowing students to come to one place, fill out one basic application, and have access to numerous scholarship opportunities.
That support could expand to other school districts in the future, Calhoun says.
ACCF works in myriad ways to connect students with the money donors have gifted. Staff visit area high schools and lead group lessons on scholarships. They offer one-on-one phone support to students.
“We also hope that the support from the foundation and staff lightens the workload of school personnel in dealing with scholarship season,” Calhoun says.
ACCF’s commitment doesn’t stop after that first year of college, however. In addition to the 2*3*4 Scholarship that supports students in their second, third, and fourth years of college when there are fewer scholarships available, the foundation is looking into a “return to home” scholarship that would award money to local students who return to the area after their education and fill key professions that are needed locally.
Anyone who would like to support a ACCF scholarship in their name or the name of a loved one should contact the foundation. Planning for the 2025 scholarship season has begun already, Calhoun says.
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