What is Dollars for Scholars?
 
Dollars for Scholars is a national 501(c)3 organization dedicated to making post-secondary education more affordable by increasing scholarship opportunities. This includes technical programs and college degrees. Hundreds of local chapters in 30 states plus the District of Columbia award scholarships to their local students. In North Dakota, the state chapter North Dakota Dollars for Scholars, secures donations for statewide scholarships. North Dakota Dollars for Scholars is administered by Bank of North Dakota.  
 
There are 66 local chapters across North Dakota in addition to the statewide chapter. These dedicated volunteers have raised over $37.6 million, awarding over $17.9 million to 39,027 students since beginning in North Dakota. 
 
The parent organization, Scholarship America®, is a non-profit, private-sector scholarship and educational support organization. It has provided $3.9 billion in scholarships to more than 2.4 million deserving students since 1958.

 

How did North Dakota Dollars for Scholars begin?

The national organization began through Dr Irving Fradkin in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1958. In 1962, a North Dakota businessman brought the idea to Grand Forks, where the first chapter in the state was formed. 
 
In 1988, Bob Alin retired from Scheels and started a chapter in his hometown of LaMoure, ND. This new chapter developed very well and he made it his mission to develop 50 more chapters within the following five years. Bob accomplished his goal with his volunteer time, an investment of about $250,000 from Fred Scheel, and national office support.
 
From 2000 to 2005, a staffed state office helped establish 27 new chapters, for a total of 80 chapters which supported 182 communities. This program doubled the number of communities served, as well as the number of scholarships awarded, with a total of $17 million raised between 2000 and 2005. On January 1, 2006, the state office ended its staffed program due to lack of funding, but volunteers on the state level continued to help North Dakota chapters in a more limited manner. Former Governor William Guy approached Eric Hardmeyer, president of Bank of North Dakota (BND), and asked it BND would consider administering the program.
 
On January 1, 2008 North Dakota Dollars for Scholars established an exciting partnership with BND to provide executive leadership. North Dakota Dollars for Scholars and BND share a similar mission and vision in relation to higher education, and they work side by side to increase scholarship opportunities. As a result of this commitment, every dollar raised is used for scholarships and not for administrative overhead.
 
Amanda Woidyla and Staci Holzheimer of BND currently work as the State Directors for North Dakota Dollars for Scholars to assist the state and local chapters and maintain regular communications with Scholarship America. They promote and organize chapter trainings, work with the volunteer board of directors, create new scholarship opportunities and cultivate strong relationships with collegiate partners in North Dakota. BND also dedicates resources for public relations, assistance with statewide fundraising opportunities and website management.