Founders’ Scholarship Fund

A Foundation for Educational Success

Image: Carter McDowell with Scholarship poster
Founder Carter McDowell (R) with the new scholarship poster

The BHC Founders’ Scholarship Fund was established in 2015 at our 25th Anniversary event in honor of BHC co-founders Mary Tyler McClenahan and Carter McDowell. The fund provides financial assistance to adult residents (17+) of BHC’s rental communities seeking higher education. Scholarship amounts are awarded based on the educational achievement desired (i.e., diploma, certification, degree):

  • Associate degree, certificate program, continuing education courses (i.e., CNA classes, GED): Up to $1,000
  • Bachelor or graduate degrees: Up to $2,000

For Applicants:

2016 Scholarship Awardees
The 2024 Founders’ Scholarship Fund is accepting applications from March 11  – May 13, 2024!

If you are a resident of a BHC rental community, you are eligible to apply! For full eligibility requirements see General Guidelines Document.

2024 General Guidelines

Scholarship awards are valid one year from the award date, and are paid directly to the educational institution for tuition, books, and/or required supplies.

Before you get started:

Download the 2024 BHC Scholarship Application Questions List

Review the Step-by-Step Instructions

I’m ready to apply!

Important! The online application must be completed in one sitting (you will not be able to save your answers and come back later). Therefore, please have your answers ready to the application questions above before you start filling out the online application!

If you’ve read the step-by-step instructions and are ready to start copying/pasting your answers into the application, click the link to access the application form. You do not need a Google account.

COMPLETED APPLICATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY 11:59 P.M. ON MAY 13, 2024. Awards will be announced in July.



I’m an applicant reference.

Submit a BHC Scholarship Reference Form here


Scholarship Fund FAQ’s

Q: Is my class eligible?

A: Probably! Beyond traditional college/university classes, Founders’ Scholarship funds can be used for GED prep and testing, certificate programs, and continuing education courses that advance or improve the career of the applicant. Some examples of certification courses past awardees have taken are Pharmacy Tech, Welding, and HVAC.

Q: Who decides who gets an award?

A: Applications are reviewed by a panel made up of BHC board members, community volunteers, university faculty, etc. Applicants’ responses are scored by each reviewer, an average score is assigned, then ranked. We assign scholarship dollars to top scorers based on maximum allocation allowed until we reach $10,000 in awards for the grant year.

Q: When will I know if I received a scholarship?

A: Awards will be announced in July.

Q: Do I get a check for my tuition?

A: No. Scholarship awards are paid directly to the educational institution for tuition, books, and required supplies and are valid one year from the award date.

Sign up for Founders’ Scholarship news and updates here

For Donors:

Image of Scholarship recipient

Why is it needed? BHC envisions vibrant, sustainable communities that offer opportunities for our residents to reach their fullest potential. While scholarship recipients’ ages, backgrounds and fields of study vary widely, they all have dreams and aspire to bright futures. Their only obstacle is financial. Thanks to our generous donors, we are able to award up to 10 scholarships to eligible BHC residents each year.

What is the John McCann Memorial Endowment? Through skilled board leadership and outspoken advocacy for the Better Housing Coalition’s work, John P.  McCann (1945 – 2018) championed BHC’s mission of changing lives and transforming communities through high-quality, service-enriched, affordable housing. Like our founders, John was passionate about higher education as a path out of poverty, and was a major contributor to the Founders’ Scholarship Fund.

After John’s death in 2018, staff members of McCann Realty Partners boosted the Scholarship Fund with a series of major memorial gifts. These gifts in large part enabled BHC to seed the John McCann Memorial Endowment, established in late 2020 to sustain the Scholarship Fund for the future. In a few years as the fund grows, we will be able to utilize them for scholarship awards. Until then, however, we continue to rely on the generosity of scholarship fund supporters to provide a pool of funds for this purpose.

Donate Today! If you have any questions or would like to make a pledge to this fund, please email Kayla Smith, Director of Community Engagement or call 804-644-0546 x118.

Sign up for Founders’ Scholarship news and updates here

Get to Know our Scholarship Awardees:

[My goal is] to own my own shop or to work for a Fortune 500 company. I mostly want to own and operate my own repair company/franchise.Anthony Brooks
J. Sargent Reynolds Community College

My future goal is to become an elementary teacher hopefully at my former elementary school, Ginter Park. I always said that I want to take part in kids’ lives, mostly the ones who don’t receive the love and affection they should at home. Why? Because kids tend to act out when they feel like they’re not appreciated or they’re not being recognized for their good work and I would serve as that positive role model in their lives.Joi Greene
Virginia Union University

I push my children to study hard and do their best in school. I realized that it is better to lead by example. My goal is to work in a company’s human resources department.Quinese White
Bryant and Stratton College

[My goal is to] complete my education and gain employment in the human service field as a case manager or drug counselor. One day I hope to open a shelter for women with no children or other family members.Delsa Sally
J. Sargent Reynolds Community College