The Maine Children’s Scholarship Fund was inspired by the creation of the Children’s Scholarship Fund (CSF) of New York City. In 1999, CSF offered 40,000 scholarships to elementary school children in poverty all over the country and received an overwhelming 1,250,000 application. 1,625 were from Maine, but only 44 Maine students received the CSF scholarship. The founders of the Maine Children’s Scholarship Fund realized that there was a substantial unmet need for scholarships in Maine and started the Maine Children’s Scholarship Fund.
The Maine Children’s Scholarship Fund (MCSF) provides scholarships to Maine children in kindergarten through twelfth grade to help pay for part of public or private school tuition, or toward home schooling expenses. MCSF pays up to 75 percent of tuition per child up to $1,400, with the family contributing 25 percent or $500 per child. Alternately, MCSF reimburses home schooling costs up to $500 per child. Scholarships are awarded to all students in a family, and in order to be eligible, Maine families must have income at or below the Federal Free or Reduced Lunch Program, approximately 185 percent of the poverty level.
The Maine Children’s Scholarship Fund began in 2000 in partnership with local philanthropists and a challenge grant from Children First America, a national charity devoted to assisting local scholarship funds all over the country. MCSF awarded 27 scholarships to 14 families in 2000, 55 scholarships to 28 families in 2001, and 75 scholarships to 47 families; and in 2003 they awarded 100 scholarships to 40 families. 21 years later, we now serve 184 students to 62 families.
The Maine Children’s Scholarship Fund encourages involvement in education as a successful way to improve a student’s performance. For many parents, MCSF offers them the first opportunity to become an active participant in selecting their child’s school and the scholarship families are active partners with MCSF. These low-income families pay a portion of tuition, a powerful statement of their commitment to education excellence.
MCSF is made up of three Board Members:
- Betsy Chapman – President, Retired Financial Consultant
- Helen Crowley – Secretary, Retired School Librarian
- Kathy Dowling – Treasurer, Retired Manager for a Financial Firm.
The working Board Members give 100% participation and devotion to the Maine Children’s Scholarship Fund.