Scholarships, Grants, and Other Community Service Opportunities - Davidson Institute (2023)

Young people around the world are working hard to bring about positive change in the world. Gifted youth are no exception, many of whom made positive contributions to their communities before graduating from high school. In addition to the intended benefits of doing something that is personally rewarding and helping those less fortunate, there are many unintended benefits of engaging in such activities. These latent benefits include increased chances of admission to top universities, a variety of scholarships and grants to fund these colleges, enhancing your resume, and other exciting opportunities for funding, jobs, and even world travel. According to Miriam Weinstein, author ofMaking a Difference: Scholarships for a Better World, "Your consistent experience of community service or activism will make you more attractive to most colleges and graduate schools." Additionally, the experience and knowledge gained through volunteering and participation in other service-oriented programs will better prepare youth for the skills , which are required to be successful in the job market after graduation. So you don't have to be a high school senior or an outstanding graduate student to qualify for scholarships and extracurricular opportunities. Contrary to popular belief, community service experience can be just as valuable to a college candidate as the more traditional opportunities of sports and science.

This compilation of resources was inspired by the incredible projects undertaken by Davidson Young Scholars as part of the Young Scholars Ambassador Program. These extraordinary young people work on projects beyond their own interests to make the world a better place for everyone. Through social, environmental, and humanitarian efforts, Young Scholars creates and implements programs that will inevitably have a global impact. Designed as a place to find grants, fellowships, jobs, careers and other opportunities for young people working to make a difference, this collection provides "a starting point" for the aspiring philanthropist.


Community service scholarships are lucrative and often considered highly regarded by college admissions officers. Whether you were a volunteer or an entrepreneur starting a nonprofit, or anything in between, helping others can be time-consuming and expensive, as well as rewarding. Scholarships for those involved in charitable endeavors of all kinds are available from public and private sources, as well as directly through financial support from colleges and universities and scholarship offices.

Equal Excellence Scholarship:Each year, students across the country work hard to make a positive and lasting impact in their communities and beyond. And each year we award $1.8 million in scholarships to hundreds of these remarkable young people across the country, representing all 50 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico. Students have the option of receiving a $2,500, $10,000, or $25,000 scholarship. To recognize the important role their dedicated educators play in guiding these students on their path to success, we also award a $1,000 stipend to each high school that wins Equitable Excellence. The 2021 program begins on September 1stcall up. The application deadline is January 28, 2021 or when 10,000 applications have been received.apply here.

Brower Youth Awards– An annual national award recognizing six young people for their outstanding activism and achievements in the areas of environmental and social justice advocacy. Honorees will receive a cash prize of $3,000, a trip to California for the awards ceremony and wilderness camp, and ongoing access to resources and opportunities to advance their work at Earth Island Institute. Young activist leaders ages 13-22 residing in North America are eligible to apply.

humanityUpward Movement Scholarship- Humanity Rising brings communities together to inspire and empower students to make a difference through service and recognizes and rewards outstanding service with college scholarships. Service creates empathy, compassion, self-esteem, greater human connections, and a shared sense of responsibility for others. Quarterly, we give Humanity Rising grants and other rewards to students who are making a difference in the world through volunteering or creating their own service project. To qualify, create and submit a 60-second video to share your service story. Once you have a service story to share, create and upload a 60 second video and share it with us. It could be just you, or you could get creative and share photos of your service. To view video examples from other students, visit ourservice historybook page

Gloria-Barron-Preis- The Gloria Barron Young Heroes Award honors inspiring and civic youth across the United States and Canada. Established in 2001 by author T.A. Barron, the Barron Awards annually honor 25 outstanding young leaders, ages 8 to 18, who have made a significant positive impact on people, their communities and the environment. The top fifteen winners will each receive $10,000 to support their ministry or higher education.

Points of Light-Stiftung– Youth Service-Related Awards Programs: A comprehensive resource pack listing recognition and awards programs available to youth and adults working in the service sector. Programs are categorized by eligibility/target audience and contacts are included where possible. However, this guide dates from 2003, so it is recommended that you contact the rewards programs directly for the most up-to-date details.

Prêmios Prudential Spirit of Community- Recognition of students in grades 5-12 who have participated in a volunteer activity in the 12 months prior to the application date. The program was established in 1995 and is sponsored by Prudential Financial in association with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). Over the past 12 years, the program has recognized more than 75,000 young volunteers at the local, state and national levels.

local honoreesreceive a certificate of completion from their schools or organizations. Eligible local guests of honor (26 hours of service for children under 10, 50 hours for students ages 11-15, and 100 hours for seniors) also receive the President's Volunteer Service Award.

Various finalistsreceive an engraved bronze medallion and other runners-upCertificates of Excellence.

state honoreereceive a $1,000 stipend, an engraved silver medallion, and an invitation to nationally recognized program events. In the event circumstances related to COVID-19 necessitate cancellation of the in-person event, a virtual event will be held and no travel will be made to Washington, DC. would be rewarded

(Video) The Ruth Pittard Fund for Love In Action

national honoreesreceive an additional $5,000 stipend, an engraved gold medallion, a trophy for their nominated school or organization, and a $5,000 stipend from the Prudential Foundation to a nonprofit charity of their choice.

The Purpose Challenge Competition- If you write a college essay based on what you learned from the Purpose Challenge toolkit, you can submit it for a chance to earn money for college. Five winners will each receive $5,000 and one winner will receive a grand prize of $25,000.

Check with your college or university– Most colleges and universities offer scholarships and other opportunities for students involved in civic, environmental, leadership, and community service activities. Be sure to check with your school's Financial Aid and Scholarships Office about these opportunities.

Financing without grant:

Taking a nonprofit project or organization to the “next level” often takes more than hard work; Money is also needed! These are just a few of the many organizations that provide seed funding, awards, grants, and grants for all types of charitable programs and ideas.

Bezos Scholarship Program– Every year by acompetition and selection process, the Bezos Scholars Program selects a new group of scholars. Twelve American students and five African Leadership Academy students are selected along with a supporting educator from each school.

Successful applicants are first graders from a public high school and a school staff member who acts as an educator and is fully involved in the program. Successful candidates have a strong motivation and commitment to education and demonstrate maturity, curiosity, determination and leadership qualities.

Society for National and Civil Service– Provides grants to national and local non-profit organizations, schools, government agencies, religious organizations and other organizations dedicated to strengthening their communities through volunteerism. This site also has many resources, publications, and links to information that can help you grow your business.

fundraiser– Crowdfunding is becoming increasingly popular as a way to raise money for non-profit businesses. Online crowdfunding platforms (also called crowdsourcing) such asIndiegogo,Akademie Khan,Iobyand many more are available for enterprising philanthropists to use in their fundraising efforts.

Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam initiative- The InvenTeam initiative offers high school students an unprecedented opportunity to boost their creativity and experiment with inventions. InvenTeams are teams of students, teachers, and mentors, each receiving grants of up to $10,000 to invent technological solutions to real-world problems. Each InvenTeam chooses its own problem to solve. InvenTeam students rely on inquiry and hands-on problem-solving as they apply science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) instruction to develop prototype inventions. Science, math and technology teachers at secondary schools and non-profit educational organizations are eligible to apply.

Association for Non-Profit Organizations- Researched by a nonprofit with over 20 years of experience, Funding Alert is the leading e-zine for the latest grants and funding opportunities. For $29 per year, you'll receive a monthly email with an extensive list of current grant opportunities, conveniently organized by category.

The impressive foundation- The Awesome Foundation hands out a series of $1,000 monthly grants to projects and their creators. Money is collected from the coffers of ten or more self-organized "micro trustees" and paid out in advance in cash, checks, or gold doubloons. Chapters are self-contained and organized by patrons around geographical areas or areas of interest. The foundation makes these grants available unconditionally and claims no ownership of the projects it supports. It's, in the words of one of our curators, a micro-ingenious concession to micro-brightness. The projects included efforts in a variety of fields including technology, arts, social welfare and more.

Youth Service America Awards and Scholarships- On this page, which is constantly updated with the latest grant applications and opportunities, you can also sign up to receive grant announcements directly by email as soon as they become available.

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youth society(Facebook Page) – Inspiring and investing in teams of young people to design and launch their own enduring social ventures so they can have the transformative experience of driving positive social change. “Adventurers” create businesses, civil society organizations, and informal programs that address all kinds of social issues, including poverty, health, seniors, the environment, education, diversity, and the arts. Youth Venture helps young people in this process of starting and starting their business by providing guidance, guidance, seed capital and a process to develop and launch a business idea.

Other Programme:

Scholarships are not the only opportunities available to young people involved in charitable activities. For those interested in exploring other options such as jobs, internships, summer programs and travel, here are some ideas.

Allen's Guide to Student Leadership and Community Service Programs- This directory of student leadership and community service programs provides links to over 20 summer camps, immersion programs, travel opportunities, and study abroad programs.

Annual program of Americorps City- City Year was founded in 1988 by Michael Brown and Alan Khazei, then roommates at Harvard Law School, who had a strong belief that youth ministry could be a powerful resource in solving our nation's most pressing problems. Over the years, City Year has been built on the belief that one person can make a difference and the vision that a day ministry will be a shared expectation and real opportunity for citizens around the world. Academic youth ambassadors might be interested in the Youth Leadership Corps or the Youth Service Corps.

Flee– training leaders and active citizens; Break Away's mission is to empower, support and connect colleges and communities to promote quality alternative programs that inspire lifelong active citizenship. Break Away's vision is a society of active citizens: people who value community as a priority when making life decisions. As part of a quality break away experience, participants receive training and experience in all aspects of a social issue. Upon their return, they will be empowered to make more informed decisions and take meaningful actions that support the common good. They become active members of society and have a say in matters affecting their communities.

do Encourages students to take action locally and globally and provides an online community of active young people doing great things. This site also features a local volunteer opportunity search by zip code, scholarship opportunities, and more.

Center for Gifted Youth Civic Leadership Institute– Through an introductory course in civic engagement and contemporary social issues, students at CTY's Civic Leadership Institute explore the complex challenges affecting our communities today and learn tools and strategies for community development and positive social change. This innovative service learning program integrates interactive and engaging academic work with meaningful field experiences. Several times a week during school terms, students travel to vibrant neighborhoods to participate in hands-on service projects with reputable local community organizations.

Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG) –The Summer Institute for the Gifted's three-week programs for gifted and talented students ages 5-17 offer instruction in over 80 fun and challenging STEM, mind, and fitness classes. Residential and day programs are available based on renowned campuses across the country.

EPA Community Service Projects for Teachers- Community projects allow students to apply the lessons learned in the classroom to real-world situations and experiences. On this page you will find ideas for charitable projects and a list of events in your area.

Global Volunteers– A private, non-profit, non-sectarian, non-governmental organization recruiting short-term volunteers in microeconomic and human development programs in close collaboration with local communities around the world. Volunteers work by invitation and under the direction of local leaders, helping to lay a foundation for world peace through mutual international understanding. Our goal is to maintain a true and lasting service partnership with the host community and to provide volunteers with a real opportunity to serve. Idealista is a project of Action Without Borders, a non-profit organization founded in 1995 with offices in the United States and Argentina. Idealist is an interactive website where people and organizations can share resources and ideas, find opportunities and supporters, and take action to build a better world.

National Convention on Volunteering and Service– The world's largest annual gathering of volunteer and servant leaders. Hosted by Points of Light & Hands On Network and the Corporation for National and Community Service, this conference offers new ideas and practical tools to strengthen your volunteer and service program. It's a great place to network with other professionals in the volunteering field: nonprofits and businesses; academic and religious organizations; funders and authorities. You will be inspired, connected, informed and energetic, ready to mobilize more volunteers and do more. Dates and locations vary from year to year, so check the website for information on the upcoming conference.

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National Youth Leadership Council– Service Learning is more than an educational theory and philosophy. It is active learning that continually responds to new needs. NYLC keeps pace with these changing needs by taking action in these areas: infrastructure development, program models, public policy, best practices, tools and leadership.

human to human– People-to-People programs provide international travel and educational experiences for students, athletes and professionals. The Student Ambassador and Leadership programs offer international educational opportunities for elementary, middle and high school students. practical cultural contact; Access behind the scenes to fascinating people and places; and incredible outdoor adventures ensure students have the experience of a lifetime. Students may be nominated for the program or request an application. Three letters of recommendation are required.

Urban Institute Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Organizations– Conducts and disseminates research on the role and impact of nonprofit organizations and philanthropy. The center's mission is to advance civil society understanding and improve the performance of the nonprofit sector through in-depth research, clear analysis, and informed policies.

Youth Service America– (YSA) is a resource center working with thousands of organizations dedicated to improving the quality and quantity of volunteer opportunities for youth ages 5-25 to serve locally, nationally and globally. Founded in 1986, YSA's mission is to expand the impact of the youth service movement in communities, schools, businesses and government. YSA also provides information and requests for incentives such as grants, awards and scholarships. YSA envisions a global culture of young people dedicated to lives of service, learning, leadership and success.

Scholarship Search Engines:

Regardless of your interests and extracurricular activities, there are many free search engines available that link students to scholarship opportunities based on various characteristics.

capital expenditures– It has a “What are my chances” tool that tries to calculate the chances of you getting into a specific university before you apply. There is a 'Best Bag Picks This Week' category that highlights opportunities you may have missed.

Fastweb- Search over 1.5 million free bags.– Organized in categories making it easy to find and apply for scholarships.

Peterson's– A comprehensive scholarship resource with many great free resources. Provides matches based on easy-to-browse profiles and categories.

Educators and Research Resources:

For teachers who are passionate about community service, there is no shortage of information and organizations to get involved with. Here are some resources that teachers might find helpful when incorporating service learning into their classroom.

(Video) Davidson College Student Brandon Harris ’22 Interviews Sura Sohna

Learn and Serve America (PDF)

Further literature and research:

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful.


Organization of Environmental Careers (1998). The Complete Guide to Green Careers in the 21st Century. push island.

Erlbach, A. (1998). Volunteer Book for Kids. Learner Publications. Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Fasulo, Mike (2001). Careers for environmental types and others who respect the earth. McGraw Hill.

Kenny, Maureen E and Laura A Gallagher (2003). Teens and Community Service: A Guide to the Problems. publisher.

Kaplan, Ben (2002). Like going to college almost for free. HarperCollins.

Lewis, Barbara A (1998). The Children's Guide to Social Action. Free spirit publisher. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Weinstein, Miriam (2003) Making a Difference: Grants for a Better World. Sagworks Press.

Weinstein, Mirian. Making a Difference: A Guide for College Students and Graduates, Ninth Edition. Sagworks Press.


Young people involved in community, environmental, humanitarian and philanthropic endeavors have a wealth of resources from which to draw unique experiences. In addition to the resources listed here, many corporations and financial institutions offer grants to individuals involved in conservation, leadership, and community organizing activities. Whether you're looking for college funds or a private business, travel, internships or a career, opportunities and resources are available - get out there and get them now!

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