Establishing a Scholarship Fund

Central Kentucky Community Foundation makes it easy for donors and organizations to establish scholarship funds. We can help start a fund, develop selection criteria, administer scholarship applications and awards, promote your scholarship to the community, and connect you to your recipients. Most scholarship funds at CKCF are permanent endowments, with the earnings from each year used to make the annual scholarship award. 


Our scholarship funds provide an opportunity for donors to honor their loved ones, support the hard work of local students and help the next generation of community leaders develop the skills they need to be successful. By establishing a scholarship fund, you can create a lasting legacy, investing charitable dollars directly to the future of deserving students.


Scholarships can be set up to fulfill your interests and goals. They might benefit students from specific geographic areas or schools, those entering certain fields of study or attending specific post-secondary institutions. They may assist students most in need or students with high academic achievements. Whether you want to help a student pursuing veterinary school, honor your mother’s career in teaching or assist students from your hometown, we can tailor a fund to accomplish your wishes.


We also make the process easy so that your scholarship is awarded to the type of student who aligns with your values while staying compliant with the numerous regulations which govern scholarship funds. Scholarship Central, our online application platform, is part of that management system, making applying and scoring scholarships simple for all involved. 

Tax Deductible

CKCF manages over 40 scholarship funds, which have been established by individuals, families, businesses and organizations. Annual scholarship applications are administered according to donors’ criteria and are awarded through a CKCF-led administration process, which includes volunteer scholarship reviewers. Because we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, you’ll qualify for the maximum income or estate tax deductions when you establish a scholarship fund.

Estate Planning

We can also administer scholarship funds established through wills or trusts. Financial advisors working with donors interested in this type of bequest can connect their clients with our scholarship program’s services as an option for administration for a wide range of educational purposes. 

Take these steps to establish a scholarship fund to honor your parents, a former teacher or someone who influenced your life. Or, make a gift to an existing scholarship fund. Whichever way you choose, you’ll be helping provide opportunities for the students of tomorrow.

To get started setting up a scholarship fund or for additional information, please contact Davette Swiney at 270-737-8393 or by email at

Scholarship Stories

Because our scholarships are customized to meet the specific interests and goals of donors, many have inspiring stories behind them. Here are a few.

Harold and Cynthia Carter Memorial Scholarship 

In their effort to support higher education, Harold Ray and Cynthia Ann Skaggs Carter established a scholarship fund through their estate. Through their most generous gift, the Carters will forever help LaRue County students fulfill their dream of higher education by annually awarding multiple renewable scholarships to attend Elizabethtown Community and Technical College. Read more…

Llewellyn Scholarship Fund

Charley Nell Llewellyn spent her life working to make a difference for people. She was an extraordinary lady who left an extraordinary gift to Hardin County. Her $3.4 million total charitable gift is the largest single philanthropic gift ever given in Hardin County. Read more…

Martha Jane Hamilton Memorial Nursing Scholarship

Nursing was more than a vocation for Martha Jane Hamilton. It was her dedicated service to the profession that inspired her husband, Bobby Hamilton, to establish a scholarship in Martha’s memory. Read more…

Owen J. Estes, Sr. Scholarship

The Owen J. Estes, Sr. Scholarship honors a father’s legacy in education. Owen J. Estes, Sr., spent his life teaching students in Hart County. His career as a math teacher touched an untold number of lives forever. To honor his father’s work in education, Paul Estes, established a scholarship fund for Hart County High School graduates. Read more…

Brent Wagoner Excellence in Education Scholarship

Many CKCF scholarships celebrate life – the life of someone well lived or a life cut tragically short. The Brent Wagoner Excellence in Education Scholarship is no exception. Read more…

Brianna and Brice Taylor Memorial Scholarships

Leaders and role models to their fellow peers, Brice and Brianna Taylor were beloved students of Elizabethtown High School. When their lives were cut tragically short just days apart, their family decided to honor their lives with the creation of separate memorial scholarships in their name. Read more…

Trooper Cameron Ponder Memorial Scholarship

On September 13, 2015, Kentucky State Police Trooper Cameron Ponder (assigned to Post 1 in Mayfield, Kentucky) died from gunshot wounds sustained during a late-night traffic stop in Lyon County. Read more…

To get started setting up a scholarship fund, or for additional information, please contact Davette Swiney at 270-737-8393 or by email at

Establishing a Scholarship Fund FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I establish a scholarship fund?
2. How do scholarship funds work?
3. How do students apply for scholarships?
4. How are scholarship recipients selected?
5. How are scholarships paid?
6. Is my gift tax-deductible?
7. Can I select the scholarship recipient?
8. Can I be involved in presenting the scholarship award or get to know the recipient?
9. Can scholarships go to upperclassmen?
10. Can scholarships be for more than one year?
11. When do I need to get started on establishing a scholarship fund?


1. How do I establish a scholarship fund?

A scholarship fund is a wonderful way to honor your loved one, alma mater, high school, city or town, or profession. By establishing a scholarship endowment at Central Kentucky Community Foundation, you guarantee perpetual funding to students according to guidelines you determine with CKCF. In creating a scholarship, donors invest in our community’s future and show students they care. Central Kentucky Community Foundation provides the expertise to help donors meet their personal goals and award scholarships to deserving students. A scholarship can help students achieve their lifetime dreams. Establishing a scholarship fund with CKCF is easy; administering a scholarship fund can be challenging. Our experience and expertise are valuable to the donor and student as they navigate the financial structures in higher education today. Read more…


2. How do scholarship funds work?

  • A donor makes a gift to Central Kentucky Community Foundation — it can be cash, appreciated stocks, real estate, or other assets.
  • We set up a Scholarship in the donor’s name, family name or business, or in honor of any person or organization.
  • The donor receives tax benefits in the year the gift is made to Central Kentucky Community Foundation.
  • Our professional program staff helps donors determine eligibility requirements for the Scholarship — whether they are based on a student’s field of study, academic achievements, extracurricular activities, financial need, background, or geography.
  • We handle all the administrative details — scholarship application, review committee, selection process — and award Scholarships to deserving students in the name of the fund.
  • Scholarship funds can be endowed so that it is invested over time and only the earnings from the fund are used to award scholarships. The gift and all future earnings from the gift to establish a scholarship fund— is a permanent source of community capital, helping to do good work forever.

If a scholarship is renewable, donors can review updated information on the progress of recipients over the years. Donors often find it rewarding to meet students receiving their scholarships.


3. How do students apply for scholarships?

  • CKCF launched Scholarship Central, a one-stop online portal for many local scholarships. This service enhances the donor and student experience.
  • We work closely with local high schools to ensure students are aware of scholarships and encouraged to apply. 

4. How are scholarship recipients selected?

We use volunteer reviewers each year to review and score each application. The reviews are conducted blindly, so reviewers do not know the identity of the applicants. 


5. How are scholarships paid?

We work with colleges and universities to facilitate the scholarship gift. Scholarship awards are paid directly to the school on behalf of the student. Scholarship dollars are not paid directly to the student, ensuring the donor’s wishes to support educational expenses are carried out. 


6. Is my gift tax-deductible?

Because we are a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization you’ll qualify for the maximum income tax or estate tax deductions when you establish your scholarship fund. Consult with your tax professional for further details.


7. Can I select the scholarship recipient?

No. A panel of three volunteer scholarship reviewers score all scholarship applications blindly. However, you can have representatives on the review panel for your scholarship.


8. Can I be involved in presenting the scholarship award or get to know the recipient?

Absolutely! In fact, we encourage it and facilitate it. By hosting our Celebrating Achievement awards dinner in the spring, donors are seated with their scholarship recipients, giving them the chance to share their scholarship’s meaning and unique story and allowing donors an opportunity to get to know their recipients. Donors are also welcome to present awards at schools’ scholarship awards ceremonies. 


9. Can scholarships go to upperclassmen?

Yes. We have several scholarships that are renewable each year a student completes academic requirements for the scholarship. Other scholarships are designated specifically for upperclassmen. 


10. Can scholarships be for more than one year?

Yes. Although many scholarships present awards for the first year of college, several others are renewable as long as students continue to meet the scholarship’s outlined criteria. 


11. When do I need to get started on establishing a scholarship fund?

We can begin the work of setting up your scholarship fund at any point in the year. In order ensure your scholarship is included on the upcoming year’s offerings on Scholarship Central, fund agreements are encouraged to  be completed by November 30.