Charles D. Whitmer Fund Scholarship

Minimum GPA: 2.0
Amount Awarded: $1,000
Location or High School: Northeast Ohio
Deadline: March 31, 2014

Charles D. Whitmer, a business owner in Greater Cleveland, learned at an early age the value of working, saving and investing his earnings. His father and brothers encouraged him, as early as the age of 10, to save a portion of his paper route earnings. Today, his endeavors have paid off the way he had hoped. The hard work of rising at 4 a.m., loading a wagon with papers and dragging the heavy bundles through mounds of snow gave him an early business education. Saving a portion of his earnings for college and a portion to invest allows him now to give back to the community. He wants to help those who possess the drive to do as he did: work, save, invest and hopefully help others.

The Cleveland Foundation is privileged to assist him in his goal of supporting the aspirations of others who value higher education and the work-save-invest ethic. Mr. Whitmer proved that a small savings – in his case $1,000 – can grow into a catalyst for big dreams, as he has watched that initial amount grow to more than $84,000, the corpus of this scholarship program. We encourage those with an entrepreneurial spirit and a commitment to complete a dream to apply.

The Scholarship Program
The fund helps persons at any age attend – on a full-time basis – a college or university that is authorized to provide full credit toward a bachelor’s or higher degree.

The Whitmer Fund will sponsor scholarships for the 2014-15 academic year to up to three eligible applicants. Recipients may apply for renewal awards for subsequent, consecutive academic years up to a maximum of four annual awards. To earn renewal, recipients must remain enrolled, be in good standing at their educational institution, continue to meet initial eligibility criteria, and use all prior years’ scholarship awards in the manner required by the fund to the satisfaction of the Cleveland Foundation, as well as submitting a renewal application. It is anticipated that the fund would support up to three recipients at up to $1,000 each.  Renewal amounts will be based on the number of qualifying applicants and the amount available for spending, as determined by the spending policy of the Cleveland Foundation.

To be eligible, you must meet these requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident with verification-stamped I-551 unexpired
  • Reside in Cuyahoga, Lorain, Lake or Geauga counties, and be enrolled (or plan to enroll and attend), on a full-time basis, in an accredited, four-year college or university; or be enrolled in a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) or similar program leading to a commission in the United States armed forces (award contingent upon verification of acceptance for 2014-15 year)
  • Be willing to work, save and pay for a portion of your educational expenses during your university years
  • Show a significant degree of self-motivation, self-help, initiative, good work ethic and generally embody the entrepreneurial spirit
  • Help others

Selection Process:
An independent selection committee appointed by the Cleveland Foundation will make recommendations on scholarship recipients. Foundation staff administers the fund and facilitates the selection process. The selection committee bases its scholarship decisions on the completed application and an evaluation of the degree to which persons meet the eligibility criteria. Consideration will also be given to compatibility of career or life goals and objectives to the educational path being pursued. The donor reiterated his intentions to grow the fund and the Committee determined that the fund should reach $100,000 before a discussion to raise the amount or number of recipients should be held again.

Application process:
Your completed application must include:

  • Application form
  • A letter of recommendation (from a person of your choosing who is not a relative)
  • A transcript or record of prior educational experience (submit high school transcripts if you have completed one year or less of study beyond high school)
  • A personal statement (essay of up to 600 words) that will help committee members learn about your personal history, perspectives, goals and interests. Please include a description of your education plans, career goals and how this scholarship could help you meet your goals. This is a very important part of the application because it helps committee members get a sense of your commitment to the eligibility criteria. 

Awards are contingent upon submission of a letter of acceptance from the educational institution to be attended during the 2014-15 academic year.

To apply:

  • Register for access to our online application site by entering your name, e-mail, and creating a Login ID.
  • An e-mail will be sent to you within 5 minutes. Please check YOUR SPAM FOLDERS. Click on the link in the e-mail to complete the registration process.
  • Login to the Scholarship Gateway site and complete the application and upload your documents.

Deadline: March 31, 2014 (5 p.m.)