Residents at Concordia Village, a Lutheran Senior Services (LSS) Life Plan Community in Springfield, Illinois, established a scholarship program to help part-time employees pursue further education. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the program.
“Our purpose is to encourage and support our employees in pursuit of education to enhance their employment opportunities,” said Donna Nichols, a Concordia Village resident who chairs the scholarship board.
In the program’s 10 years, 177 scholarships have been awarded to 82 qualifying part-time employees for a total of $240,000. “The scholarship program has helped us retain part-time staff members,” said Donna.
“This year, donations surpassed previous years with just more than $43,000 raised for the fund,” said Becky Zimmer, Executive Director of Planned Giving for Concordia Village.
The rigorous process to receive a scholarship includes submitting an application and transcript by the due date and interviewing with the board evaluation committee of six. Sending thank you notes and updates on one’s progress in the educational program that was funded is also an important facet. “We ask for an update after their first semester. It’s a lot of fun to share the updates with the residents!” said Donna.
All part-time team members at Concordia Village are eligible to apply if they meet the employment requirements and are in good standing. Every applicant who applies and is interviewed receives a scholarship. The scholarship amounts are determined each year by the scholarship board, depending on the amount of funds available. This year all recipients received a $2,000 scholarship.
One employee recipient studying computer science at the University of Illinois-Springfield has received a scholarship for three consecutive years. “These scholarships have allowed me to get the resources needed to succeed at a college level and have saved me so much stress when it comes to expenses,” said Aizik English. “It is such a great feeling to know that the residents care about our future success!”
The entire process is run by the residents. “It’s a great way for the residents and employees to connect,” said Donna.