The growth of the Lynden Scholarship Foundation

The growth of the Lynden Scholarship Foundation
Posted on 11/29/2016
In 2001 a group of community members took a couple of years to raise money and eventually dole out $7,000 to 2003 Lynden High School graduates under the name Lynden Dollars for Scholars. Things have changed for what is now known as the Lynden Scholarship Foundation.

The community-driven nonprofit offers foundation-funded scholarships as well as maintaining community endowment gifts, awarding over $50,000 in scholarships last May alone to the class of 2016.

And the board isn’t ready to settle there, looking for ways to continue the growth of the foundation. “It is the students we are excited for,” says Terry Telgenhoff, foundation board member and one of the original 2001 founders. “We want the students to get the dollars.”

For growth to happen, the Lynden Scholarship Foundation aims to spread the word in the community, using an updated website to help with that.

Telgenhoff says the group is open to growing scholarships one of two ways. Individuals can donate a tax-deductible gift to the foundation, allowing the foundation to hand out a growing number of $1,000-per-student scholarships each year.

The foundation also welcomes community members to start an endowment scholarship. With a minimum of a $10,000 gift, often done via a will, the foundation can manage money and dole out a scholarship in the name of a loved one on a yearly basis. The larger the endowment start, the bigger the annual scholarship. The foundation already manages endowments in the names of Jake Maberry, Howard Heppner, Lyle Rader and more. Along the same lines, the foundation handles the logistics of the local Mt. Baker Rotary’s annual scholarship offerings.

Telgenhoff says that some colleges and universities offer matching money if a student’s scholarship comes from an organization such as the Lynden Scholarship Foundation.

The all-volunteer group has now awarded more than 400 scholarships totaling more than $400,000 since it was founded, allowing students to use the money for community, technical or four-year institutions.

“We have grown,” he says, “but we are looking at more ways to grow.”

Visit the foundation’s website for more information on ways to donate to the scholarship efforts.

Started as a way to “help worthy students graduates from Lynden High School reach their goals,” scholarship applications are reviewed locally and scored on criteria that include academics, school activities, community service, work experience and an essay sharing future goals and plans. Students can apply for scholarships via the site from Jan. 1 through April 15.