Believe it or not, spring will be here soon, and with it the end of another school year for students around the county. Some families will celebrate a graduation and many of those will look ahead to the next step in their education after high school. Paying for that next step is a burden for most students and families and being able to afford that degree is important for their long-term success.
It is for that reason, Summit County Farm Bureau established the Robert H. Eckart Memorial Academic Scholarship. Each year, the Summit County Farm Bureau awards scholarships to individuals enrolled as full time students at accredited institutions. Students must either be members of the Summit County Farm Bureau or entering a field directly connected to agriculture. The number and amounts of scholarships have varied over the years, however students are eligible to apply for the funds for up to four academic years.
In the past, scholarships were funded directly from the annual budget of the Summit County Farm Bureau. Recent funding changes to county farm bureaus, especially in urban counties, have impacted the amount and number of scholarships Summit County can offer. However, anticipating these changes in 2014, the Summit County Farm Bureau set up a separate scholarship fund with the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation.
The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation is a 501-c3 organization established by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation to fund scholarships, grants, and development around the state. The foundation manages a number of funds and endowments for both the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and county Farm Bureaus. The Summit County Farm Bureau’s goal is to build a pool of funds to help endow and sustain the Eckart scholarships in perpetuity despite a shrinking county budget. The initial contributions of the Summit County Scholarship Fund, since establishment with the foundation, have grown to over $70,000 with earnings.
While the board of the Summit County Farm Bureau will continue to budget for scholarships using annual funds, the hope is to grow the endowment at the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation to eventually rely on the earnings to finance the scholarship program. All money raised is used to benefit students and families of Summit County Farm Bureau, and the awards are determined by a committee of Summit County Farm Bureau members.
While the board will continue to allocate seed money to the scholarship fund, please consider making a contribution to this fund. The foundation is a 501c3 and all contributions are tax deductible. To make a donation, visit the following link and be sure to identify that you wish to contribute to the Summit County Farm Bureau Scholarship Fund;
Contact the Summit County Farm Bureau office for additional information or to make a contribution by mail. Scholarship applications can be found on our county website at;
Remember every dollar helps students from our county. Thank you for your support and supporting agriculture in our county.