Community Foundation of Collier County Awards $247,190 in Scholarships for 2015

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Community Foundation of Collier County continues powerful scholarship program in 2015 with 55 awards amounting to $247,190

The Community Foundation of Collier County is pleased to announce it has awarded approximately 55 new and renewable scholarships, totaling more than $247,000, to students enrolled in accredited high school, trade school, community college and university programs for the 2015-2016 academic year. The majority of the scholarships are designed for students who currently attend schools in Florida’s Collier and Lee Counties.

Scholarships were awarded through 23 funds administered by the Community Foundation and established by generous local donors, corporations and organizations seeking to assist students in pursing higher education. Most of the funds focus on criteria related to student achievement, financial hardship and academic performance and all express a deep belief in the power of education to help young people achieve their dreams. Selection committees appointed by the Community Foundation evaluate the candidates objectively.

“The talent, potential and motivation embodied in this year’s scholarship recipients is borne out in their success as students,” said Sharon Bayata, Grant and Scholarship Coordinator for the Community Foundation. “We are pleased to support these students and grateful to donors whose contributions make these scholarship awards possible.”

This fall, many scholarship recipients will attend Florida colleges and universities, including FGCU, Florida Southwestern State College, and Hodges University, although a variety of institutions are represented on the scholarship recipient list.

Scholarship award amounts range from $500 to $50,000. Some scholarships are renewable, a process that requires the recipient to follow established guidelines, i.e., GPA targets, prescribed course loads, submission of an essay, information about enrollment status, etc. Renewable scholarships provide financial support over several years to lessen the stress of the student’s financial burden and support degree completion at the student’s selected accredited institution.

Bayata explained that students are grateful for any form of assistance that eases the financial obligations of continuing or advanced education. She shared comments from Elizabeth Roux, one of the students who expressed thanks for the award. Roux is the recipient of a scholarship from the Patricia & F. Criag Jilk Family Scholarship Fund, administered by the Community Foundation, and will begin her college studies in fall 2015.

“I have always looked to the future with great hope. But now, with graduation right around the corner and my college decision narrowed down between two schools, the future is looming all too real.” she noted. “I am scared, as to be expected, and my great solace is knowing that, wherever my future leads, I will be in good hands thanks to the amazingly generous and compassionate donors of the Community Foundation. Thank you for making my attendance at one of my dream schools financially possible.”

Since 2008, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $1.3 million in scholarship funds to support students who are seeking a college education.

Eileen Connolly-Keesler, President and CEO of the Community Foundation, noted that, while this year’s scholarship cycle has come to a close, students should be preparing for next year by gathering official transcripts, requesting letters of recommendation and writing strong personal statements. “It is never too early to start the process,” Connolly-Keesler said. “If a student dreams of a college degree, they should be planning now to finance that dream.”

For a complete list of 2015 scholarship recipients and the high schools/institutions they currently attend, please contact Sharon Bayata, Grant and Scholarship Coordinator, at sbayata(at)cfcollier(dot)org

About the Community Foundation of Collier County
The Community Foundation of Collier County is a tax-exempt, public charitable organization established in 1985 with a $300,000 endowment. The first grants were awarded in 1986 towards Cambier Park’s band shell construction project and The Shelter for Abused Women initial development.

Today, the Community Foundation oversees more than 510 funds, collaborates with over 400 local nonprofits, manages nearly $95 million in assets and has distributed more than $79 million in grants. For information about the Community Foundation of Collier County, visit

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Craig Jones - Marketing Director
Community Foundation of Collier County
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