Scholarship/Award Funds

Support Education Pursuits

You can support education through a scholarship or award fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi that invests in deserving students from pre-K through postgraduate.

You can set the award criteria and serve on a selection committee to choose the scholarship recipients.

The Community Foundation for Mississippi may help:

  • Promote the scholarship opportunity
  • Accept applications
  • Verify students’ eligibility
  • Process scholarship payments

The minimum amount required to open a scholarship fund at the Community Foundation is $25,000. We prefer scholarship funds be endowed to ensure that the gift of education continues forever.

You can make a qualified charitable distribution from your IRA to a scholarship fund if you are 70.5 or older.

Interested in setting up a scholarship/award fund? CFM has representatives to guide you through the process. Contact CFM at info@formississippi.org or call 601-974-6044.

Examples of Scholarship/Award Funds at CFM

Robert E. Luckett Scholarship recipients Kaygan Harrison (left) and Destiny Lesh (right) stand with Jeanne Luckett (middle) at Richland High School Senior Awards Night.
Robert E. Luckett Scholarship recipients Kaygan Harrison (left) and Destiny Lesh (right) stand with Jeanne Luckett (middle) at Richland High School Senior Awards Night.

For Robert Luckett, education and encouraging young people was the passion of a lifetime.

“Education was always it for him,” his wife, Jeanne, recalled. “He always knew he was going to teach.”

Much of his tenure was spent as a principal – from Jim Hill High School to St. Joseph High School and for many years, Richland High School – where he touched the lives of countless students.

In 2000, Robert was diagnosed with cancer, passing away two years later at the age of 57. Over the course of his illness, donations came in to support the family. What to do with the heartfelt gifts from his community? Jeanne and her son, Robby, decided to create a scholarship fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi to honor his lifelong dedication to education and children.

“Robby and I decided the best thing would be to take that money and establish a scholarship fund. We started out with just one scholarship and then the money at the Foundation grew so wonderfully.”

Why create a fund at CFM? “I loved what the Community Foundation stood for. We felt like we wanted the money to be close and local,” Jeanne said. “We didn’t want it to be with a bank. We wanted it to be some place where the money would generate some good as well.”

Image of Rick Ross, Cooper McMillin, Camille Boles and Dr. Kim Brewer.
Pictured from left to right: Rick Ross, Cooper McMillin, Camille Boles and Dr. Kim Brewer in 2022.

The Rick Ross Madison Avenue Upper Elementary Scholarship is awarded to outstanding Madison Central High School seniors who have attended Madison County schools throughout their K-12 career, including Madison Avenue Upper Elementary.

 
The award fund was established at the Community Foundation for Mississippi to honor long-time Madison Avenue Upper Elementary principal Rick Ross by that school’s Parent Teacher Organization in 2011.
A group stands together in the gym at Murrah High School during an awards ceremony. Two of the students hold up enlarged checks with their names on them for $5,000.
From left to right: Jane Alexander, President & CEO of the Community Foundation for Mississippi; Cadet Elizabeth Hawkins; William VanDevender; Cadet Brandon Brown; Stuart Speed; Warren Speed; Ashby Foote, Ward 1 Jackson City Council Member.

The Leland R. Speed Scholarship for JROTC Top Cadets is awarded each year for the Jackson Public Schools JROTC Overall Top Cadet and the Murrah High School JROTC Top Cadet.

Established by William VanDevender, a graduate of Murrah High School, the scholarship and fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi honors of the late Leland R. Speed, a Jackson leader who served his state and country.

“Our family was inspired to award a college scholarship in Leland Speed’s name because of his passion for continuing the education of high school students in Mississippi. He felt that the JROTC program produced the best and brightest candidates because of their scholastics, character, and leadership qualities,” said VanDevender.

“Leland was a mentor, close friend, and neighbor of mine for over 25 years. He was the best example of the quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi ‘preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words’ of anyone that I have known. While he could be serious and intellectual, his sense of humor and his clever way of making a point made him so likable and a good friend.”

Each cadet will receive a $5,000 Leland R. Speed Scholarship for JROTC Top Cadets, which will be payable to his or her community college, college or university.

Keath Killebrew, Dr. Alyssa Killebrew

Keath Killebrew, co-owner and farmer with the Killebrew Cotton Company in Tchula, Mississippi, dreamed about farming and ranching as a young boy. His family says he accomplished everything he ever dreamed of because he was dedicated to waking up every day and hitting his knees to pray. He then used the hands, big heart and brilliant mind God gave him. Killebrew’s greatest passion was agriculture, living his motto to “never give up.”

“He was a hard-working farmer that was happy to get his hands dirty in the soil. His passion was to educate those who wanted to learn to be able to plant and take care of their families,” said his wife, Dr. Alyssa Ellis Killebrew. Tragically, his life was cut short when he passed away in December of 2021. “He died living his passion to the fullest and educating others how to live off their land in another country.”

The Killebrew family has set up an award fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi in his name called the Keath Killebrew Charisma Award, created for the purpose of supporting education for young men and women interested in agriculture. This scholarship will be given to young people who are passionate about agriculture and helping others in this field, using principles important to Keath such as integrity, grace, timeliness, honesty and respect.

This award fund invites Mississippians who have a proven work history, who are passionate about agriculture and helping others, and who will be majoring in agriculture or a related field to apply. The deadline is June 15, 2022. Award recipients will be notified and honored during a special ceremony during the 2022 Mississippi State Fair. The minimum award will be $1,000 per recipient.

Image of Blake CoghlanAt 19 years old, Blake Coghlan had dreams of building the best farm in the Delta. 

He grew up in Holly Bluff, Mississippi to a fourth generation Mississippi farm family. Blake was a promising young farmer with a passion for farming. He was an exceptional person with tremendous potential. He was undeniably authentic, unassuming, easy-going, and loved by everyone who met him.

He attended Mississippi Delta Community College pursuing an Agricultural Science degree and had plans to further his education at Mississippi State University. Tragically, in an unfortunate accident, Blake lost his life.

The Blake Coghlan Memorial Ag Scholarship was established at the Community Foundation for Mississippi to provide financial assistance to a graduating high school senior from Yazoo County or Sharkey County intending to study Agriculture or Agriculture-related degree at a Mississippi 4-year or 2-year institution. The award is for a period of one academic year.