PATHWAYS FOR YOUNG ADULTS

MARIAN L. HEARD
SCHOLARSHIP

A BRIGHT FUTURE
WITHIN REACH

The Marian L. Heard Scholarship provides young adults 17-24 in our focus communities with up to $14,000 over four years as they pursue a post-secondary path of their choice – which might look like community college, a four-year university, a trade school, a vocational training program, or a similar tuition-based institution. Please join us for office hours:
February 20 | February 28 | March 1
You can rewatch the Information Session Below and access the slides from the presentation here.

Application Due: March 24th 2024

The scholarship program was established to advance the next generation of leaders by promoting youth leadership development through education, positive adult relationships, and community involvement. In addition to funds scholars will have access to community building opportunities with other recipients, supportive adult relationships, professional development opportunities, and access to annual emergency and basic need funds. Created as a legacy in honor of Marian L. Heard’s service as President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of Massachusetts Bay, the scholarship recognizes her contributions to the organization and commitment to fostering leadership in young people. (Full scholarship details below.)

Who should apply?


This scholarship is for youth and young adults 17-24 who are from, live, work, pray, study, or play in one of United Way of Massachusetts Bay’s focus communities: Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Quincy, Revere, Salem, and Taunton. Applicants must be enrolled/enrolling in a post-secondary pathway that includes two- or four-year colleges and universities, but also includes job training and certification programs, apprenticeship opportunities, and other “nontraditional” pathways through education and career that require tuition costs or similar fees that prove a financial barrier to acceptance, persistence, and completion for young adults. (See full details below)

Scholarship Details

English Flyer [PDF] | Spanish Flyer [PDF]
The full details of the scholarship application and award are to the right. Please contact Amanda Shabowich with any questions.

Application Instructions

This scholarship is for youth and young adults 17-24 who are from, live, work, pray, study, or play in one of United Way of Massachusetts Bay’s focus communities: Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Quincy, Revere, Salem, and Taunton. Applicants must be enrolled/enrolling in a post-secondary pathway that includes two- or four-year colleges and universities, but also includes job training and certification programs, apprenticeship opportunities, and other “nontraditional” pathways through education and career that require tuition costs or similar fees that prove a financial barrier to acceptance, persistence, and completion for young adults. Applicants can submit responses to the questions on the application form in a variety of formats, including written responses, recording a video, or other mediums they prefer. Selection criteria and scoring rubric will be made available to applicants, so they can see how elements of their application will be taken into consideration. In most cases, applicants will be required to complete their FAFSA for the 2024-2025 school year. The deadline for FAFSA is June 30th, 2024. If the pathway you are pursuing is not connected to FAFSA, please outline that within the application. United Way will hosted an information session in January to share about the scholarship, as well as drop-in "office hours" throughout February for more individualized application support. Applications are due Sunday, March 24th 2024 at 11:59pm. Decisions will be made by a selection committee* by early May 2024. Selection committee will consist of United Way staff, volunteers, youth-serving direct service staff, and youth and young adults (with former scholars prioritized). Scholars will not be permitted to apply their entire scholarship amount within their first year. Scholars can apply funds towards tuition and relevant similar fees over the course of 4 years, with the option to extend to 6 years on a case by case basis.* When possible, the full tuition for that school year will be distributed to the institution in September. *Extensions can be given if scholars experience interruptions in their pathway journey, need to take a break for their own wellbeing during their pathway journey, or otherwise is documented and approved by the UW staff team.

Summer Orientation

For accepted scholars, Summer Orientation is designed to welcome scholars, build a peer community among scholars, and shape critical elements of their scholarship experience. During this time scholars will build out their individual post-secondary pathway plans in community with United Way staff, partners, and volunteers. In addition, scholars will build out a rhythm for continued community building opportunities, what the role of supportive adults can look like, and outline desired professional development opportunities.

Extra Funding

There will be a pool of $5,000 each school year (e.g. Sept 2024-Aug 2025) to be dispersed on a first come, first served basis for scholars to access for financial barriers that are not directly related to education and career pathways, but play a critical role in a scholars’ ability to persist and complete their goals. Some examples of how these funds can be used include basic need gift cards for items like clothing, groceries, transportation support, or household necessities.

Judging Process

All identifying information will be hidden from reviewers. Reviewers will be given a randomly generated number ID and will not be able to see the applicants name, demographic information, or address/zip code. If an applicant submits a video application or other similar format, all methods of removing identifying characteristics will be implemented (e.g. if you respond to these questions through a video response, reviewers will only receive audio or will receive a distorted video to protect your identity). Where this is not possible, it will be communicated with the applicant. In addition, all reviewers will receive training to curb bias wherever possible. Applications will be read, reviewed, and scored by a selection committee. The MLH Selection Committee seeks to be representative of the youth-serving field at large, inclusive of stakeholders with varying perspectives and expertise. The committee will consist of 30 members: 30% former scholars, 30% youth-serving staff partners, 20% United Way internal staff, 20% United Way volunteers. Former scholars and direct service staff will be compensated for their time on the selection committee per the United Way community engagement policy. Final decisions will take into account the location spread so that final scholar pool includes folks across our focus communities.

Who is Marian L. Heard?

Marian L. Heard served over three decades in various leadership positions within the United Way system, including President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Chief Executive Officer of United Ways of New England. During her 12+ year tenure at United Way of Massachusetts Bay, the organization was recognized for its children’s initiatives, community leadership and innovative intervention programs. Marian is the founding President and CEO of the Points of Light Foundation, which was organized to perpetuate President George Bush’s support for voluntary service The author of two books, “The Complete Leader” and “Take Time,” Mrs. Heard is also known for her work as a mentor.

Be a part of a scholar's journey

As a volunteer MLH e-Coach, you will support your Scholar through each year of their college career, and together you’ll work toward the ultimate goal of college graduation. You’ll stay in regular contact via email with your scholar, helping them navigate classes, extracurriculars, internships, and other opportunities.