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Act Locally Scholarship

Funded by
1 winner$500
Application Deadline
Dec 29, 2022
Winners Announced
Dec 31, 2022
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners

From little things, big things grow.

The problems facing the world today can make it easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless to make a difference, but the most important opportunities to create meaningful change are just outside your door. This is a scholarship for students who are working to change the world by taking action in their local communities.

Social action within your local community, environment, economy, and elections is a powerful step forward that can reverberate to the national and global level.

The recipients of the Act Locally Scholarship will receive $500 each. All GPAs will be considered, and all majors are invited to apply.

While not required, applicants with experience volunteering or working to better their local community through social, environmental, or economic change are preferred.

Selection Criteria:
Essay, Impact
Published August 2, 2022
Essay Topic

Optional Essay: What change do you want to see in your community, the country, and the world, and how do you act locally to help make a difference?

0–1000 words

Winning Application

Kaci Tobin
University of ChicagoChicago, IL
Jadyn Gasper
Luther CollegeAppleton, WI
Within my community, the country, and the world I want to be able to see a wider acceptance of the disabled community. Being a disabled student myself, I have witnessed the discrimination that individuals with disabilities face on a daily basis and the struggle that occurs to get access to the resources we need. Within my own college, this ableist mindset is a very prevalent issue as people are questioned and ridiculed for not looking “sick enough” to need accommodations or being called a disturbance when their disability is visible to those around them. One of my best friends in college who has neurological issues faced discrimination from the disability services of my college-- the individuals who are supposed to support and help the students with disabilities. My friend was actively called a “disturbance” and a “nuisance” when her condition would act up in front of others. As a result, I was angered by this treatment and decided to take action. I joined the Luther Disability Alliance at my school and later became the co-chair of this amazing organization my sophomore year of college. Luther Disability Alliance is a student-led organization that works to support disabled students on campus. We provide a safe place for students with disabilities to talk about their disabilities and the discrimination that they may face on a day-to-day basis. It is our mission to educate the members of our community about the vast variety of disabilities and show that every person is different. We teach that the word “disability” is not a taboo word nor something to be ashamed of, but rather something to embrace. This year we have led many activities and meetings with individuals with disabilities and their allies including movie and trivia nights, educational material, and simply support group meetings. In addition, we have been actively meeting with the administration at my college to improve the quality of care and support for individuals on campus. One of the projects we have been working on throughout the last couple of years is accessibility on campus. As our campus is quite old, a lot of the buildings are inaccessible, so I began to advocate last year for the accessibility of some of those buildings. One of the items we advocated for is the lack of braille on the room and bathroom signs as there are a couple of students on campus who are blind. Currently, the signs only have the room number printed on them and a print of the braille, however, it is not raised for someone to be able to read it. This is just one example of the many items we are advocating for as we are also advocating for bias reports, HIPAA laws, and more. Overall, I have been actively advocating for individuals with disabilities, including myself, to the administration to allow a safe and inclusive environment for everyone on campus. Ultimately, I hope to see that my community and the world turn away from the ableist mindset. I want others to understand that having a disability isn’t a terrible thing as having a disability just means that you are just a little different. In addition, I want others to realize that people with disabilities have the right to the same opportunities and treatment as someone who does not have a disability and that they have the same potential as everyone else. In the end, I want to make an impact and improve the quality of support for everyone.
Alexander Ratliff
Clemson UniversityGreenville, SC
When I was 8 years old, I learned that my uncle was homeless; he would live with my parents off and on for a few years but ended up committing suicide. I did not understand why he chose the path he did in his life, but as I have gotten older, I was able to talk to my parents and learn the truth. He was a felon and could not get a job that paid a liveable wage. Thus, he turned to drugs, which led him to homelessness and ultimately taking his life. The change I want to see in my community, the country, and the world is for people to have selfless motives for their actions through gratitude and generosity. What I do locally to act on this change is offer my time to others through volunteering, and community service, give generous gifts at least once a week, such as a $20 tip at Waffle House, lastly, I encourage others to find a cause that they are motivated about that will help the community. I am fortunate to be a part of several organizations that have the same goals, values, and visions as I do. Mentor Upstate is a volunteer mentoring program for children in local primary schools. Our sole duty is to join them for lunch once a week and just listen to them talk about anything going on in their life. I have an 8-year-old named Rayden, who is an intelligent and charismatic 3rd grader. However, he does not receive support from home, as he is fatherless and his mother works three jobs, to ensure he reaches his potential. Often, his stories to me are going home and playing with the stray dog that comes on his front porch because he leaves pop tarts out for the dog to eat, and refers to the dog as his only friend. We have been paired for just over a year and the ongoing pandemic has disrupted our in-person meeting, so we adapted by writing letters to each other. At first, Rayden did not like this because he struggled with spelling and penmanship, but after the first two letters, the quality and length of the messages improved. I am not sure if our mentoring will make a big difference in his life, but if I can influence him positively in the slightest and keep him away from my uncle’s path, I would be grateful. Likewise, too often conflict occurs because of motives that are for self-gain; from white-collar crimes such as Bernie Madoff's fraud to everyday decisions such as not being grateful for what you have. It is human nature to hold your own interest first, however, humans are also relational beings, there is nothing wrong with having personal goals that you would strive to achieve. The issues arise when the goal becomes more important than another person, two of the best things we can do is realize when to recognize gratitude and be generous givers of not just money but time and effort. I currently live in Greenville, SC, which is a small but very fast-growing town in the upstate of South Carolina. We have a culture of workmanship as the town was founded on textile mills to support local families, as the textile industry began to move overseas BMW came in 1994 and has been one of the biggest drivers for our economy. However, being such a manufacturing influence area, it has made a lot of residences not as approachable from the long hours, heavy workload, and high-stress level. Locally, we refer to someone with a demeanor as described before as “Old Greenville”. This effect has started to make the environment not as welcoming to new residences of Greenville. Currently, Greenville is still a manufacturing heavy town as Michelin has a large operation in town as well. But other industries are beginning to show growth such as tech companies, real estate developers such as creative builders, and tourism. Now we are creating a “New Greenville'' mindset of inclusion, respect for all, and equal opportunity. In the past 10 years, the need to support the community has been identified as a priority for local government; this has resulted in several organizations and programs to provide services for not only those in need of monetary support but emotional and moral support.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Dec 29, 2022. Winners will be announced on Dec 31, 2022.

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