BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Community Foundation of Bloomington & Monroe County is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships for Monroe County – Jake Keller and Grace McKay. Lilly Endowment Community Scholars are known for their community involvement, academic achievement, character, and leadership.
“Each year, we are inspired by the accomplishments of our community’s young people, and this year is no exception, said Community Foundation President and CEO Tina Peterson. “Jake and Grace have both demonstrated excellence in academics, leadership, and service. They have also found unique ways to pursue their passions and extend their learning experiences within the community. We look forward to following their academic journeys and hope one day they will choose to seek our fulfilling careers here in Monroe County or in the Indiana Uplands region.”
Each Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship provides for full tuition, required fees and a special allocation of up to $900 per year for required books and required equipment for four years. The scholarship is for undergraduate students studying on a full-time basis leading to a baccalaureate degree at any eligible Indiana public or private nonprofit college or university. Lilly Endowment Community Scholars may also participate in the Lilly Scholars Network (LSN), which connects both current scholars and alumni with resources and opportunities to be active leaders on their campuses and in their communities. Both the scholarship program and LSN are supported by grants from Lilly Endowment to Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) and Indiana Humanities.
Jake Keller is a senior at Bloomington High School South (BHSS) and the son of Amy and Joe Keller. He is the president of Dance Marathon at BHSS and a co-founder of the Community Outreach Association, a club focused on organizing volunteer opportunities on behalf of students and local nonprofits. Keller is a member of the National Honor Society, the BHSS Cross Country and Track and Field teams, and Songs of South.
With an interest in video and filmmaking, Jake has sought out opportunities to hone his production and editing skills. He has operated cameras with the Sherwood Oaks Christian Church production team and partnered with the Monroe County Community School Corporation to produce a promotional video highlighting the STEM-to-Them Mobile Lab. He also founded the Bloomington Media Club to help teens get more hands-on videomaking experiences through partnerships with local nonprofits and businesses.
“I am so grateful to have been chosen to receive this scholarship,” said Jake Keller. “The process was long, but all of the people involved were incredibly kind and helpful, which I am so appreciative of. I also want to say a special thank you to my family and friends who support me in all of my endeavors.”
Grace McKay is a senior at Bloomington High School South and the daughter of Kimberly and Joel McKay. McKay is captain of the Bloomington South Soccer team and a member of the National Honor Society, basketball team, and Unified Track and Field teams. She is also a student leader with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Best Buddies, and the DECA clubs at BHSS.
Grace has a passion for service and helping others in our community. Through involvement with Sherwood Oaks Christian Church, she has served as a middle school group leader, high school ministry leader, summer camp counselor, and Parents Night Out volunteer. Grace has also served meals at Wheeler Mission and Redbud Hills retirement community.
“Having met all the other highly qualified finalists, I feel extremely honored that the Community Foundation chose me as one of the winners this year,” said Grace McKay. “Saying ‘thank you’ doesn’t come close to describing my gratitude for the opportunity I’ve been given as a Lilly Scholar.”
The Community Foundation has also announced that Monroe County’s eight other 2023 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship finalists will each receive $1,000 scholarships to use at a college or university of their choosing:
- Felicia Bolander, Edgewood High School
- Clara Crain, Edgewood High School
- Advaith Iyengar, Bloomington High School North
- Carina Jacobson, Bloomington High School South
- Connor Shin, Bloomington High School North
- Jack Steiner, Bloomington High School North
- Hazel Stringer, Bloomington High School South
- Hayden Wilson, Edgewood High School
“Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship applicants represent so much hope for our community and Indiana’s future,” said Jessika Hane, chair of Monroe County’s Scholarship Committee. “We continue to be amazed and astounded by the accomplishments, leadership, and service of our community’s rising generation. The scholarship selection process is never easy, but we are inspired by all of these high school seniors and confident that their futures are bright.”
Monroe County’s Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Application Process
Monroe County’s Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship recipients were selected from among applications submitted by students from six of the 11 high schools that serve Monroe County students. Eligible schools include The Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship, Covenant Christian School, Bloomington Graduation School, Bloomington High School North, Bloomington High School South, Edgewood High School, Harmony School, Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics & Humanities, Lighthouse Christian Academy, and Seven Oaks Classical School.
Applications for the 2023 scholarship were blindly reviewed and independently scored by representatives from each high school to identify semifinalists. The number of identified semifinalists reflects each school’s senior class size.
Each semifinalist was invited to submit an updated application, which included additional application questions and recommendations. The Community Foundation’s Scholarship Selection Committee then evaluated the completed semifinalist applications. This committee, comprised of community members, blindly reviewed and scored applications from the semifinalists to select ten finalists. In selecting recipients for the Monroe County Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship, consideration is given to student activities and achievements, community and civic service, academic performance, and leadership potential.
The finalists were interviewed by the Foundation’s Scholarship Selection Committee, and their interview scores were combined with scoring from their written applications. The finalists’ rankings, along with the committee’s recommendations for scholarship nominees, were submitted to ICI, the statewide administrator of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program, which approves the final selection of scholarship recipients.
Lilly Endowment created the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program for the 1998-99 school year and has supported the program every year since with grants totaling in excess of $486 million. More than 5,000 Indiana students have received the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship since the program’s inception.
The primary purposes of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program are: 1) to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana; 2) to increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities; and 3) to encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.
For more information on the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program or other scholarships administered by CFBMC, visit https://www.cfbmc.org/lasting-impact/apply-for-a-scholarship/ or contact Marcus Whited, Program Director, at 812-333-9016 or [email protected].
About Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County:
Created by individuals, families, and businesses who share a passion for Monroe County and a vision for its future, the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County has granted more than $27 million since its incorporation in 1990. With a growing $44 million endowment, the Foundation makes a difference by connecting caring people, important causes, and community resources.
About Lilly Endowment Inc.:
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff, and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education, and religion. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.
About Independent Colleges of Indiana:
Since 1997, Independent Colleges of Indiana has administered the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program statewide with funding provided by Lilly Endowment. Founded in 1948, ICI serves as the collective voice for the state’s 29 private, nonprofit colleges and universities. ICI institutions employ over 22,000 Hoosiers and generate a total local economic impact of over $5 billion annually. Students at ICI colleges have Indiana’s highest four-year, on-time graduation rates, and ICI institutions produce 30 percent of Indiana’s bachelor’s degrees while enrolling 20 percent of its undergraduates.