Five local banks have made a five-year commitment to Creston Dollars for Scholars for donations ranging from $300 to $1,000 each year.
Half of the money from each bank’s donation will go into the Creston Dollars for Scholars general fund for scholarships. For the other half, the Dollars for Scholars members will write to South Central Iowa Community Foundation for a matching grant. Then, that money will be left in its endowment.
The five banks that made the five-year commitment include First Federal Savings Bank, First National Bank, Great Western Bank, Iowa State Savings Bank and State Savings Bank.
“We were very happy with the response we had from the banks,” said Charlene Dunphy, past-president of Creston Dollars for Scholars. “At our meetings, we were talking about other things we could do to show that the community cares about the kids, and that is when we came up with this idea.”
Dollars for Scholars is a national program under Scholarship America. The Creston Dollars for Scholars chapter was started in 1999, and the chapter gave out its first scholarships in 2000.
“I was the secretary to the superintendent,” said Dunphy. “At that time is was Gary Cowell. I kept saying to him, ‘I really think there is something out there that we could get the community involved in for scholarships.’ He knew of Dollars for Scholars, and that is where it started.”
The Creston Dollars for Scholars mission is to provide scholarships for post-secondary education and promote community pride.
“We are so thankful for people who give us anything,” said Dunphy. “The first year we did this, we may have given away 12 scholarships. Since that time, we have probably given out, I would say, close to 500 scholarships.”
Creston Dollars for Scholars is involved with the READS program, and also holds an essay contest for fourth- through eighth-graders, and every class has a winner. For example, if there were five fourth-grade classes, there would be five winners.
The students are given a topic to write about, and their teacher chooses what they feel as the best three out of their class. Then, a winner is picked from those three.
“We used to give them a $100 savings bond,” said Dunphy. “Now, savings bonds are not where we can just go and get them. Last year, we gave them all a check for $50 so they could go buy their own savings bond.”
Anyone interested in making a donation to Creston Dollars for Scholars can mail it to, Creston Dollars for Scholars, P.O. Box 194, Creston, Ia., 50801 or give it to Adam Snodgrass at Iowa State Savings Bank.