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Difference between Bonner Scholar and Bonner Leader Programs

Page history last edited by Robert Hackett 8 years, 3 months ago


Millions of dollars are raised each year for academic and athletic scholarships. The Bonner Foundation believes that a third type of merit scholarship, based on community engagement, should be available at all colleges and universities.
The Bonner Program offers one of the largest, oldest, and most successful models for service-based scholarships. Started in 1990, the Bonner Scholar Program supports individuals who otherwise could not afford to attend college because of financial need. The Bonner Foundation works with participating colleges selected by the Foundation and supports approximately 1,500 students at 24 institutions. The Foundation provides up to $5,000 per student annually to supplement the financial aid package provided by the school. In return for the financial support, the Bonner Scholars are expected to engage in 10 hours a week of community service during the school year (140 hours per semester) and 280 hours in the summer.
Though the Foundation is unable to expand the number of Bonner Scholar schools we support financially, the Foundation is committed to exploring ways to partner with new schools that are dedicated to creating service scholarships on their campuses. This commitment inspired the Foundation to write a variety of grants to assist us in learning how to create service-based scholarship programs at additional campuses. This initiative resulted in the creation of the Bonner Leader Program.
In 1997 the Bonner Foundation partnered with the Corporation for National and Community Service's AmeriCorps Program at the National and New Jersey State levels.  AmeriCorps continues to award the Foundation AmeriCorps "slots" or positions each year in our New Jersey-based AmeriCorps program.
In 1998 the Foundation received a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) that allowed us to begin partnering with six new schools interested in offering service scholarships on their campuses. Together, we explored new ways of creating service scholarship opportunities for students who would not receive direct funding from the Foundation. Campuses in the Bonner Leader Program have each designed innovative models that use Federal Work-Study funds, AmeriCorps Education Awards, and institutional support to create scholarship stipends for students involved in community service as part of the Bonner Program.  There are now more than 60 colleges and universities participating in the Bonner Leader Program.
The lessons learned from these grants helped the Bonner Foundation establish the core elements and best practices for modeling a successful campus-based service scholarship program.  
Schools interested in starting a Bonner Leader Program should review these pages and then contact Robert Hackett, Vice President of the Bonner Foundation, to discuss next steps.

Bonner Scholar vs Bonner Leader: Same Program Model, Different Funding Sources


Sources of Funding

As you can see from the chart above, the source of funding is the primary difference between Bonner Scholar and Bonner Leader programs.  For Bonner Scholars, the Bonner Foundation provides financial support to participating students for school year stipends, summer internships, and various program expenses such as service trips.  For Bonner Leaders, the participating institutions provide the school year stipend (usually out of Community Service Federal Work Study funds).  

Bonner Network Support

The Bonner Foundation staff provides technical assistance and training to all Bonner Network schools. Our staff visit each campus as often as possible, and maintain regular contact with schools via email, phone, and our various social networking sites such as the Bonner Network Forum.  Participating schools are asked to attend the regular Bonner gatherings:  

Over the past 19 years the Foundation has generated a variety of handbooks and reference manuals that are useful when creating service-based scholarship programs. In addition, our Bonner Web-Based Reporting System has been developed to facilitate reporting for our schools and to enable schools to generate service portfolios. 


Finally, in addition to AmeriCorps the Bonner Foundation takes the lead (in partnership with campuses) on a variety of Federally-funded grant initiatives.  These include:


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