“We have received additional money for the purpose of matching donors’ grants to the foundation for scholarships and so even though this isn’t new, we do have more money to fund more grants this time than we have in the past,” Battles said. “... Hopefully with this matching grant incentive, we will be able to do a little bit better than we did last year.
“My goal is to try and do at least 200 scholarships this year. Last year we had 170.”
He said the $500 match will continue as long as funding is available.
“Our goal is getting the community involved in [the foundation] and it helps to do that because education has gotten so expensive that we’re trying to help students offset that as much as possible,” Battles said. “This allows people who would like to give a scholarship, but really can’t afford to give a $1,000 scholarship.
“That person who initiates the scholarship will actually be able to present [the scholarship] ... in the spring.”
He said while the bulk of scholarships available from the foundation, about 80 percent, can be applied at the college of choice for the student, other scholarships are tailored by the presentor and can be customized toward certain colleges and majors. However, all scholarships are needs-based and have academic requirements as well, Battles said.
“What we have is a set of guidelines. The scholarships go to students who have lived in Bartow County for three years, ... they are graduates of a high school within Bartow County but are not limited to that,” Battles said, adding students who are residents of Bartow County but attend other schooling options than the five local high schools can be considered for scholarships.
Some scholarships are renewable, allowing students to reapply while attending college.
Bruce Emerson serves as the assistant governor for the local Rotary Club district 6910, which includes Bartow County, Cartersville and Etowah chapters. The Rotary Club is participating in the matching funds program this year with one of the prerequisites of the scholarship being the recipient must conduct himself in a way that aligns with the Rotary’s “Four-Way Test,” which requires members to be honest and have good character.
“Both of my daughters were recipients of scholarships from the Etowah [Scholarship] Foundation. I saw that touched their hearts and it touched mine as well,” Emerson said. “... This is an opportunity to give back and in all [our Rotary Clubs], you will find past recipients of the Etowah Scholarship Foundation and what is happening here is we are taking the best of two opportunities and making it even greater.
“... What it does basically, instead of us just being able to give somebody a $500 scholarship, we can now give them a $1,000 scholarship and further their education along. ... We get to take an individual, whether it be a traditional student or a non-traditional student, and we help with their education and expose them at a young age to Rotary and what Rotary is all about, so we ensure our future growth so that when they graduate from college, they will give back to their community.”
Since its inception in 1982, the foundation has awarded about $4 million in scholarships to about 4,000 students. The application for scholarships goes online each year beginning Jan. 1 and the deadline for applications is April 1. For more information, visit www.etowah.org or call 770-382-1757.