As an unfortunate consequence of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the global war on terror, many children of our active-duty military personnel are now members of single-parent families. We are raising funds to ensure that higher education will be a reality for these families, but we need your help.
It is estimated that over 11,000 children have lost a parent in the war overseas. That number continues to grow each day. The Legion is actively working to ensure that all those children who want a post-secondary education will be provided one.
Q. How can I donate?
A. You may send your check (Made payable to: The American Legion Legacy Fund) to:
The American Legion Legacy Fund
700 N Pennsylvania Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Q. What is the Legion doing with the money collected?
A. Each donation goes into the Legacy Scholarship trust fund, which earns interest to be used for scholarships. Currently, the fund’s principal is $5.7 million. In 2012, $49,950 in aid was distributed to students.
Q. What happens to the trust fund’s principal?
A. The trust fund remains untouched and grows with each donation. Scholarships are funded by the interest, which has awarded $291,895 in aid since 2004.
Q. Where has the money gone so far?
A. Scholarships grow in number and dollar amount each year. The first renewable scholarship was worth $2,000 and awarded in 2004. Since then the demand has growth steadily with more and more children reaching college age and eligibility.
2004: One scholarship grant of $2,000.
2005: Three $2,000 scholarship grants.
2006: Six scholarships were granted.
2007: 8 scholarships were awarded for $4,500 each.
2008: 11 scholarships – $3,720 each.
2009: 16 recipients each received $2,250.
2010: 10 scholarships at $4,000 each, and three scholarships at $2,000 each.
2011: Twenty-one scholarships at $2,275 and two at $1,100 each.
2012: Eighteen scholarships at $2,275 each.
In all, 99 scholarships have been awarded to date.
Q. Who decides who gets scholarships and how much is awarded?
A. The national treasurer, with the National Finance Commission’s approval, determines the interest amount available for scholarship funding. By resolution, the National Americanism Commission is empowered to establish further rules, regulations and guidelines for the selection and awarding of scholarships with emphasis on financial need, leadership, scholarship and citizenship. The National Americanism Commission has delegated these duties to the National Committee on Education, which implements the scholarship program.
Q. If an active-duty servicemember is home and is killed outside of war, is his or her child still eligible for the scholarship?
A. The same rules always apply. The deceased parent must have been on active duty with the U.S. military or National Guard, or as a federalized reservist. The place of death is irrelevant, provided that the death happened on or after Sept. 11, 2001.
Q. Will we get a report on how scholarships are being used?
A. During May meetings, the National Committee on Education reports to the National Americanism Commission about the scholarship recipients and status of the program. The report is included in the National Americanism Commission’s report to the National Executive Committee. A separate copy of the report is sent to each department headquarters and is available from the Americanism, Children and Youth Division of The American Legion.
Q. Say a soldier dies when his daughter is 2 years old. She won’t go to college for 15 years. Is that money being put away for her?
A. The money is in the trust, but she has to apply for her scholarship when she is a senior in high school. The number of eligible applicants and money available will determine the scholarship amount.
Q. How much do we need to raise?
A. Obviously, the more money the fund has, the more interest it will accrue for scholarships. If there was enough money in the principal, full college scholarships could be awarded each year. Unfortunately, that day is far off. It is thought that eventually a minimum of $20 million will be needed to meet the expected need for scholarships.
Q. Will someone be contacting these children, or will they have to find the scholarship on their own?
A. Ideally, the names and addresses of children who lost a parent would be readily available. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible. The scholarship information is contained in the Legion’s “Need a Lift?” publication, which lists scholarships, grants and loans available for veterans and their children. The information is on the Legion’s Web site, and booklets are distributed annually to public and private high schools across the nation. A representative from a local Legion post should be able to provide the family with the scholarship information and other benefit information at the time of the servicemember’s death.
Q. How many times can a student apply?
A. Students can reapply for the scholarship up to six years maximum. A waive can be obtained if the student is the National Guard or reserves and is activated. A waiver may also be obtained if the student embarks on a church mission. The student must be full-time and continue making adequate progress toward a degree.
Send all questions concerning the American Legion Legacy Run to Bill Sloan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send all questions about the Legacy scholarship to Chuck Graybiel at email@example.com.