College GradsWhat We Do

The Methow Valley Education Foundation was formed in 1984 by Methow area community residents and business people who recognized the need to help fund continuing education for young and adult Methow Valley students enrolled in vocational or technical training, college and university programs. The original board members wanted to be able to offer ongoing aide to the students, for each year of enrolled higher education, up to four years (for undergraduate study). All grants go for either 2 years (for 2 year courses of study) or 4 years, so long as the student makes reasonable grades and progresses full time toward their degree or certificate. In those early years, grants were made of $500 per year per student. The annual amount of the award has steadily increased to its current amount of $1,500.00 . Additionally, the number of students receiving grants has increased, and for the last few years the Foundation has awarded grants to between 10 and 12 new students each year, with an average of 38 to 40 students at any one time receiving aide.

Candidates for Methow Valley Education Foundation grants complete applications and are interviewed by Foundation board members, taking into consideration the applicant’s need for financial assistance, their academic record, contribution to the community, and employment record. Every student who applies is given serious consideration for grant assistance. Grant recipients include current and former graduates of Liberty Bell High School and Methow Valley Alternative School, as well as Valley residents young and older seeking to return to school. The Foundation generally expects a grant recipient to help contribute to their educational expenses through summer work, savings, and/or part time jobs while in school. The Foundation has helped students in a wide variety of trade and academic programs, as well as in formal trade apprenticeships, graduate schools and law school.

The Foundation has, since its inception, been funded primarily from donations of all sizes from the Methow Valley community. Smaller donations are put together to allow for meaningful help to valley students; donors of larger sums may sponsor one or more grants. As required by IRS regulations, recipients must be chosen by the Foundation board, although a few grants have certain parameters, including an annual grant to go to a local ski team graduate, and another earmarked for a student attending trade or vocational school or community college.

All of the money raised by the Foundation benefits Methow Valley students. Each year 90% of contributions are paid out to current students, and 10% is reserved as an endowment fund to assure future stability of grants. Administrative costs of the Foundation are assumed by the volunteer board. The Foundation has no paid employees, officers or workers. The Methow Valley Education Foundation is approved by the IRS as an IRC Sec. 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

The Foundation’s desire is to increase grants to a more meaningful share of steadily increasing tuition costs, and to assure that every qualified needy student receives the necessary help to obtain his or her higher education goals. The cost of higher education is continually increasing, and available government aide has not kept pace . However, every year we must turn away qualified and needy students because of lack of funds.. The Board of the Foundation is seeking to reach out better to the community and to improve its visibility in the Valley.