Berrien Community Foundation Launches Scholarship Season

Families in search of financial assistance for college-bound students can capitalize on a slow winter weekend to scan a broad array of scholarship opportunities including four brand new ones on the docket this year thanks to the generous donors who comprise the Berrien Community Foundation. It’s Scholarship Season at the BCF in Michigan’s Great Southwest.

In fact, scholarship applications are now available at the Berrien Community Foundation including those four new scholarships brought to the table to help students this year.

New to the Berrien Community Foundation stable this year are the Rodney Weir Scholarship for Coloma Marching Band…The SW MI Human Trafficking Task Force Scholarship…the Trefz Family Scholarship…and the Frederick S. Upton Foundation Opportunity Scholarship.

Berrien Community Foundation President Lisa Cripps-Downey says, “Through the generosity of donors in our community, the BCF scholarship program just keeps growing.” She adds, “We are thrilled to add to the educational opportunities available to everyone in our community, from recent high school graduates, to adults who are returning to school. These four new scholarships will make a tremendous addition.”

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The Berrien Community Foundation will award almost $150,000 in student scholarships this year. Scholarships come in all shapes and sizes supporting particular schools, careers, or areas of interest. For a full list of scholarships, visit the Berrien Community Foundation website by clicking the link below, keeping in mind that all  applications are due March 5, 2018. Here’s the direct link:

The new scholarship programs are quite varied in nature. The Rodney Weir Scholarship for Coloma Marching Band supports a new or returning college student who graduated from Coloma High School and will be participating in marching band in college.  The SW MI Human Trafficking Task Force Scholarship was created to support students who have shown a dedication to raising awareness of human trafficking and will be attending Southwestern Michigan College majoring in Health or Criminal Justice.

The other two scholarship programs are geared more toward those students with financial need. The Trefz Family Scholarship was created by the family of Josephine Trefz to help Berrien County students who have a financial need and the Frederick S. Upton Opportunity Scholarship will award several financial need scholarships to Berrien County Scholars who will be attending a specific list of smaller colleges throughout Michigan.

Berrien Community Foundation has been helping students achieve their college goals for more than 21 years. From engineering to teaching to music, the Foundation has scholarship opportunities for graduating high school seniors and adults returning to school. Local volunteers review applications and select the winners. In June, donors get to meet and learn more about the future plans of the scholarship recipients at the annual BCF Scholarship Banquet.

Cripps-Downey tells us, “Many people know that we have provided over $2.4-million in scholarships to Berrien County students, but what they might not know is that we also administer a handful of scholarships for students throughout Michigan.” She adds, “We understand that the generosity of our donors does not necessarily stop at a county line, so we are happy to extend our services outside of Berrien in special situations.”

Those wishing to know more about what is available are encouraged to visit the link posted above for a complete list of scholarships and criteria. Applications can also be downloaded from the site. Students can also check with their high school counselors for applications.

Scholarship decisions will be announced in early May. You can visit for more information or contact the Berrien Community Foundation at or by calling 269-983-3304 Ext. 4. Good luck.