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It’s scholarship application time

Educational monies aim to help with post-secondary education goals

The 2019 recipients of the Fort Lewis Family Member Scholarships. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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The Fort Lewis Family Member Scholarship Fund is now accepting applications for its 2020 scholarships. The fund, established in 1989, is open to both children and spouses of active-duty and retired service members and Gold Star families. The completed forms are due by March 16. 

The purpose of the fund is to help family members reach their educational goals by providing scholarships to pursue post-secondary education at accredited institutions of higher learning. In the past five years, the group has distributed nearly $190,000 to 144 scholarship recipients.

A dedicated group of volunteers helps ensure that the scholarships continue to be available year after year.

"I've volunteered for many years to provide scholarships for other families," explained Janet Graham, an honorary fund chairperson. "And now that my children are old enough, I've been on the receiving end. It has furthered my desire to continue volunteering to help others. My college-age children were so appreciative of their scholarships, they even helped with the gift-wrapping fundraiser that the scholarship committee had over the holidays."

In addition to the fund scholarship, there are two other scholarships which the fund administers. High school seniors who complete the training program Basic$4ALL (available online at have an additional scholarship opportunity from the First Command Educational Foundation. Make sure to read through the extra requirements. Military spouses are also eligible for the Claire Marsh Scholarship, which is funded by the Lewis Community Spouses' Club. The amount varies each year.

New for this year, fund applications are open to a larger pool of people.

"Historically, the fund's eligibility has been connected to the Army only. We've opened it up to be more inclusive, so the applicant pool is more reflective of all the services at JBLM," said Angie Melnyk, fund chairperson.

To be eligible to apply, you must have a valid military ID card and be the immediate family member (child or spouse) of an active-duty service member, a family member of a retired service member, or a Gold Star family. All must reside within a 50-mile radius of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. You are not eligible if you are active-duty, received a full scholarship, have already been awarded a Fort Lewis Family Member Scholarship, or currently have a bachelor's or master's degree.

The Fort Lewis Family Member Scholarship Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization, and gifts are tax deductible as allowed by law. Donations to this fund help the group to continue to provide scholarships to family members of military service members. For applications and more information, visit:

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