Come Home Scholarship Program

Come Home Scholarship Program

Many communities in the Midwest are struggling to retain college graduates and lose out on their talents toward economic growth and prosperity. In late 2013, three community foundations in Michigan began discussion among their donors and Foundation constituents about what, if anything, could be done to attract young people back to the Thumb Region of Michigan. The result was a simple brainstorm that might transform the world of traditional scholarships.

From the start the Huron County Community Foundation, Community Foundation of St. Clair County, and Sanilac County Community Foundation have all worked together to address the talent drain and the Come Home (Reverse) Scholarship program was born. They shared this initiative with other community foundations via a webinar, and The Community Foundation for Crawford County became the 4th in the nation and 1st in Ohio to adopt this initiative.

Traditional scholarships are awarded and paid on the “front end” of a student’s career. At that time, there are no guarantees the students will complete studies in their chosen field, graduate from college or return back to their communities to help contribute to growth and prosperity.

A “Come Home Scholarship” is essentially a talent retention program and would pay students on the back-end of their college career, after they have completed a degree or qualified skilled trades program, but only if they agree to move back home and live and work in Crawford County.

First Federal Community Bank donated $15,000 to start the Foundation’s first Come Home Scholarship Fund, and we are in the process of engaging donors eager to support this new talent retention initiative. We will accept Come Home Scholarship applications year-round. We anticipate this Come Home Scholarship award will appeal to young college graduates in their late twenties who still have some student debt and are weighing the options for returning home versus remaining in their current community.

If you are interested in supporting this initiative, please contact Lisa Workman, President, at or 419-562-3958.


Process, Criteria & Governance

  1. Scholarship selections would be a competitive application process, much like the many existing scholarship programs already managed and administered by community foundations throughout America.
  2. Eligible applicants would be limited to recent graduates with the following criteria:
  • Graduated with an appropriate degree (2 year, 4 year, advanced, or trade school certificate) within the last seven years and still has student debt
  • Preference will be give to applicants who graduated from a Crawford County high school.  If the applicant attended a vocational high school, such as PCTC or Tri-Rivers, preference will be given if the applicant's home high school was a Crawford County high school.
  • Applicants may NOT be already residing within Crawford County at the time of their application, with preference given to those applicants who have clearly established residency in another community and are now considering a relocation back home.
  • Preference will be given to applicants who can demonstrate a previous residency of at least four years within Crawford County, or who can demonstrate that their immediate family currently resides within Crawford County.
  1. Award Size: The awards can be up to a maximum of $10,000 and will be paid out on a quarterly basis.
  2. Length of Stay: There is no mandatory length of stay. However, if an award recipient moves out of the county during the award program cycle, they would forfeit all future award monies not yet paid.
  3. Use of Funds: Award funds must be used to pay off student debt.
  4. Expectations: Award recipients will be expected to live and work in Crawford County in order to be eligible for this funding. They must secure a job or create their own business within 120 days of receiving the award. The specific terms and expectations, along with the process for monitoring and evaluating the program’s impact will be up to the entity that is managing the program.


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Come Home Scholarship Committee Members:

  • Bradley Murtiff
  • Mike Dostal
  • Justin McMullen
  • Erin Stine
  • Larry Schmidt


Come Home Scholarship Recipients:


Kempf, Rowan pic_cropped               Roe, Gage pic

  Rowan Kempf                        Gage Roe



Paynter, Adam webpic               Harvey, Nate pic_croppedjpg

 Adam Paynter                  Nathan Harvey 



Fanin, Tad-website

     Tad Fanin