Guide to Community Service Scholarships 2020

Written by: Kristyn Pilgrim
Updated: 9/11/20

Expressing care and support for your community through volunteerism is always an admirable thing, but did you know it can also land you some serious cash for college? With so many social causes calling for our collective attention, scholarships for helping out are multiplying too. 

You might be surprised at the kinds of service you can receive a financial award for, and there is practically an award for every type of community involvement or volunteer interest. 

This article will explore six community service scholarships available, and many you can apply to each year.

1. Segal AmeriCorps Education Award

Long a favorite for placing volunteers across the country, AmeriCorps rewards volunteers who complete a term of service with the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. The general time commitment for a term of service is between 10 months to one year. Completion of such a term makes you eligible for an award amount that is equivalent to whatever the Federal Pell Grant would be for the year that you serve. 

A big bonus of this scholarship is that it can be used to pay for tuition if you are in school or planning to go, and it can also be used to pay off student loans if you have already graduated. Having a background of service-related projects will certainly help you to enter an AmeriCorps program, but previous activities cannot be counted toward the allotted time related to your award.

Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards vary by year but saw top-end amounts at $6,195 for the academic year of 2019 into 2020. Any service of the aforementioned length completed with AmeriCorps NCCC, AmeriCorps State and National, or AmeriCorps VISTA is eligible. 

There is no deadline to apply for this scholarship.

2. Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship Program

The Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship Program was developed in memory and tribute to the legacy of former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jesse Brown and is distributed by Disabled American Veterans (DAV). The award is intended to encourage young volunteers to take action in the Department of Veteran Affairs Voluntary Service Program (VAVS) or their Local Veterans Assistance Program (LVAP). 

Eight scholarships totaling $75,000 are granted each year as recognition of veteran support illustrated by any volunteer 21 years old or younger who can show 100 hours of service through the DAV programs. The top-tier scholarship is worth $20,000. 

The remaining seven are awarded as follows: one scholarship of $15,000, one of $10,000, two of $7,500, and three of $5,000. 

The annual deadline for this scholarship is in late February.

3. Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes

For young people with a mind toward public-spirited projects, the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes offers much aid. Any volunteer between the ages of 8 and 18 who is currently working on, or has worked on in the preceding 12 months, an inspiring service project that benefits the larger public can be eligible for an award of $10,000. 

To qualify, this service must have been fully initiated by the applicant and not solely done as an assignment for school or work. Successful applicants must:

  • Do more than tell of surviving a personal obstacle and show heroism that has made a significant impact on the world outside themselves.
  • Show lack of selfishness, exhibit strong initiative, and display overt tenacity.
  • Demonstrate courage, positive spirit, generosity, intelligence, and high moral purpose.
  • Succeed at creating something that has inspirational value and could lead others likewise to make a difference.

Beyond the $10,000 toward higher education, this scholarship offers networking opportunities, media coverage, and material commendations, such as a recognition certificate and personalized plaque. 

While the application process will not open again until January, you can access a sample application to plan and organize your approach. 

Applications for this annual award can only be submitted via the scholarship website, and no other forms of submission will be deemed eligible.

4. Against the Grain Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship

For Asian American high school seniors and currently enrolled college students, the Against The Grain Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship represents a powerful avenue for gaining financial assistance. This scholarship seeks to award trailblazers of at least 25% Asian or Pacific Islander heritage with $1,500 for exceptional demonstrations of vision, leadership, and passion toward the Asian American community. 

A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale is mandatory, and family members of Board members are automatically ineligible. Applicants for this award are asked to prepare a video presentation that displays the creative and extraordinary ways they have engaged and promoted the Asian American community at large. 

Videos will be judged on creativity and execution, as well as content, and must be submitted via Vimeo or YouTube. Finalists will be asked to sign a waiver allowing the feature of his or her video on the Against The Grain homepage. The application season for this scholarship typically runs from January to May each year.

5. Samuel Huntington Public Service Award

The prestigious Samuel Huntington Public Service Award is available to graduating college seniors at U.S. accredited institutions who wish to pursue one year of public service after graduation. The financial award is intended to allow the recipient to engage in their designated public service for one year before heading to graduate school or a professional career. 

$7,500 is awarded at the beginning of the winner’s chosen service, and another $7,500 after six months of successful completion. The $15,000 stipend award hinges largely on the composition of a service proposal of 1,000 words or less describing the need for the applicant’s original volunteer project, the target objectives specified for the project, a schedule, and a sustainability outline. 

In addition, applicants must submit official college transcripts, a resume and cover letter, three letters of recommendation, and a budget plan. This scholarship is annual, and all applications should be forwarded to:

The Samuel Huntington Fund
Attn: Amy Stacy
National Grid
40 Sylvan Road
Waltham, MA 02451

6. Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship

With support from the National AIDS Memorial, the Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship will be awarding 10 scholarships between $2,500 and $5,000 each. 

Any current high school seniors and college underclassmen younger than 27 who can show dedication to AIDS activism may apply. This award seeks to bolster young leaders who exemplify the passion toward mitigating the hardships brought on by the AIDS virus and HIV in the manner of activism pioneer Pedro Zamora. 

A complete application for this scholarship will include a written essay of not more than 1,500 words that:

  • Reflects on the ways that AIDS has affected your life
  • Details on how the scholarship would assist you in your chosen career path relative to the AIDS pandemic
  • Explains the ways that your public service is making a difference to the AIDS crisis

You will also need a minimum of one letter of recommendation from a program coordinator, teacher, community leader, or supervisor who can attest to your AIDS/HIV-related public service. A transcript from your current school showing a GPA of at least 2.5 is compulsory. 

The application for this annual scholarship can be submitted online.

Helping Givers Get More

While helping others tends to be its own reward, we at believe in supporting perennial givers in every way possible. Whether it is helping them to stay safe at college this fall or make informed decisions about which grants and scholarships to apply for, we take our commitment to serving the servers. provides current information on all aspects of college funding, loan repayment, and educational finance trends. We are proud to lend you our expertise and take the guesswork out of applying for financial aid so that you can get back to lending your hand to the community.