Starting a Scholarship Program

    • People who want to help children. Before anything else there must be people with a passion for and willingness to sacrifice on behalf of a cause that gives fresh hope to parents and new opportunity for children.
    • Program goals and a clear mission. What exactly do you want to accomplish? A clarified mission statement is absolutely essential.
    • Pupils and places in private schools. Here, the concern is with the local community. How many potential pupils might participate? Are there an adequate number of seats in the surrounding private schools? What are the local issues of concern to parents?
    • Partners who will provide support. Without funds there is no program.¬† For example, if you want to provide a $2500 scholarship to support 25 children to go to private school for the next 12 years you will need $750,000 or $62,500 per year just for the scholarships. Then come the expenses of administering the program. Adequate support is a primary consideration. The good news is that Pennsylvania’s EITC program and its 75% or 90% tax credit has made contributing to scholarships organizations extremely attractive for the business community.
    • Practical considerations and model organizations. There are numerous questions to consider, such as – Do you have a 501 (c) (3)? If not, who will file the paperwork to the IRS for you? What model of organization will you follow? What equipment will you need? Where will you locate your office, etc.? Who will administer your new program?
    • Process: from data to delivery of scholarships? What data-processing software is best? How will the scholarships be delivered? What arrangements will be made with which schools? Will you offer scholarships based solely on need, first-come, first-served or by lottery?
    • Promotional plans: the moms and the media. A well-planned media strategy can mean the difference between a successful program and a struggling one. The image you want to project should be in mind when you plan the following: program name, mission statement, organizational structure, logo, public statements, and admissions criteria.
    • Once all this is done, you must¬†submit an application to the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). After being approved and put on the state’s list of eligible scholarship organizations, you may start to raise EITC money.