For the past 20 years, First Responders Children’s Foundation has awarded millions of dollars in scholarships to hundreds of children of first responders. First priority is given to applicants with first responder parents who have been killed or injured in the line of duty. Scholarships provide a maximum award of $6,250 for a single academic year. Awards are based on financial need, academic merit, and achievements such as demonstrated leadership, excellence in the arts or sports, and/or volunteer activities benefiting the community. The number of scholarships awarded varies from year to year. Scholarships may be renewed annually up to a maximum of four years of undergraduate work depending on the availability of funds, the applicant’s financial need, and the recipient’s academic record. The annual application deadline is May 31, and applications are accepted at any time by mail, email, online, or through any combination of those. A complete application consists of all the components listed in the checklist below.
Meet Founding Board Member
“We don’t care whether you’re a sheriff, whether you’re a detective, whether you’re a police officer, a firefighter, an EMT, a volunteer firefighter, if you put your life at risk or lost your life saving others, we’re going to be there for your children.”
The applicant must be the child of a first responder (biological, adopted, or step-child).
An applicant who is the child of a deceased first responder must have been conceived prior to the death or total and permanent disability of the eligible first responder.
An applicant who is an adopted child must have been adopted by the eligible first responder prior to, or the adoption process must have begun prior to, the date of the death or total and permanent disability.
An applicant who is a stepchild must have been listed as a dependent on the eligible first responder’s federal and state income tax returns in the income tax years immediately prior to the death or total and permanent disability.
Candidates must be pursuing their first Bachelor’s degree, Associate’s degree, or Certificate at any accredited college, university or technical/vocational institution in the United States that participates in the federal financial aid programs offered through the U.S. Department of Education.
Candidate must be enrolled as a full-time student during the entire academic year.
Candidate must maintain a 2.7 out of a 4.0 grade point average, or the equivalent as documented by the Office of the Registrar at the academic institution.
Candidate must be making satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of their program as defined and documented by the academic institution.
Candidate must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States attending school in the United States.
Current First Responders Children’s Foundation officers and employees and members of their immediate families are not eligible to apply.
Disbursement of Funds
Checks will be made payable to the school on behalf of the scholarship recipient. Awards will be distributed in two equal payments – one for the Fall semester, and one for the Spring semester. Disbursement of the Spring semester payment is contingent upon verification from the academic institution that the student has maintained the required GPA and remains enrolled full-time for the Spring semester.
To receive the second award disbursement, it is the scholarship recipient’s responsibility to submit an official academic transcript or other official verification from the academic institution no later than January 15th to First Responders Children’s Foundation verifying GPA for the semester just completed as well as official proof of full-time enrollment for the current or upcoming semester. Spring payments cannot be made until such verification has been received.
- Transcript including cumulative GPA.
- Proof of full-time enrollment.
- Evidence of honors, leadership positions, volunteer activities, and other achievements.
- Personal statement not exceeding 700 words summarizing personal and professional achievements and career goals.
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency (i.e. birth certificate, naturalization papers or valid U.S. passport).
- Letters of recommendation from up to three individuals which can include an academic reference, a personal reference, and a reference from the first responder’s employer.
- A copy of the candidate’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- A copy of the candidate’s Student Aid Report (SAR).
- Proof of first responder parent active duty, death, or disability.
- A copy of the candidate’s tuition bill (or an estimate of the amount of tuition if the bill is not yet available).
- A copy of the financial aid award letter from the school.
RENEWAL APPLICATION CHECKLIST
Award recipients may be eligible to apply for a renewal of their scholarship for up to three subsequent years of their continuing undergraduate program for a total of four years of awards. To be eligible for a renewal, applicant must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.7 or greater and must provide the following items in their annual renewal request submission by May 31:
- Application form.
- Documentation that applicant is making satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of their degree as defined and documented by the academic institution.
- Transcript including the most recent cumulative GPA.
- Proof of full-time enrollment for the upcoming semester.
- No personal statement is required, but you can submit an optional short statement summarizing the impact of prior First Responders Children’s Foundation scholarship awards, the importance of this scholarship toward achieving academic goals, and achievements and accomplishments since receiving the last scholarship award.
- A copy of the candidate’s completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- A copy of the candidate’s Student Aid Report (SAR).
- A copy of the candidate’s tuition bill and financial aid award letter from the school.
CSX Pride in Service Scholarships
CSX Pride in Service scholarships provide an award of up to $5,000 for a single academic year. Awards are based on financial need as well as academic merit and other achievements, such as a demonstrated leadership, outstanding performance in the arts or sports, and volunteer activities benefiting the community. The number of scholarships awarded varies from year to year. This scholarship may be renewed annually for up to a maximum of four years depending on the availability of funds and the financial need and the academic record of the awardee.
Luis Alvarez Memorial Scholarship
A memorial scholarship named in honor of Luis G. Alvarez was announced on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2019 at the 19th Annual First Responders Children’s Foundation Thanksgiving Day Parade Breakfast in the presence of members of the Luis Alvarez family including his widow, Alaine Alvarez. Luis Alvarez passed away from 9/11-related illnesses and was known for his bravery while pleading before the United States Congress to replenish the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. This scholarship award will be $6,250 per year for up to four years for a total of $25,000. Priority will be given to children of first responders who have died from or are suffering from 9/11-related illnesses.
Christopher Lawton Memorial Scholarship
Christopher Michael Lawton died in the line of duty as a Reserve Police Officer on Monday, March 12, 2018 at the age of 41. Lawton, who served full-time as Deputy Chief with the Zachary, Louisiana Fire Department, was a dedicated public servant in Zachary, Louisiana for over twenty years. Chief Lawton started his first responder career as a volunteer with District Six Fire Department in 1997 as a firefighter/operator. He became a full-time firefighter with the Zachary Fire Department in 1998 and worked his way through the ranks. Chief Lawton received his Fire Science degree from LSU in 1999. At the time of his death, Chief Lawton held the position of Deputy Chief, the second highest rank within the Zachary Fire Department. He was also an Arson Investigator for the City of Zachary.
Chief Lawton also served as a Zachary Police Department Reserve Officer, joining the Police Department in May 2008. In this volunteer capacity, he worked part-time without pay for a decade. He was a fully certified commissioned officer who received the same training as full-time officers and was a trusted veteran of the police force.
During Chief Lawton’s career, he received numerous awards including: Medical Life Saves, Fire Stops, Unit and Crew Citations. In 2017, Chief Lawton became a Post Firearm Training Instructor. He was an active and founding member of the Zachary Firefighter Association, Local 4644. Chief Lawton was a member of the International Association of Arson Investigators, Zachary Police Reserves, Zachary United Methodist Church and Zachary Cross Fit.This award was originally funded through individual donations received in memory of Chief Lawton by members of his community upon the recommendation of his children.
The Christopher Lawton Memorial scholarship is awarded annually to student who is the child of a law enforcement officer or firefighter lost or permanently disabled in the line of duty. The scholarship award is based on financial need, academic merit and other achievements including demonstrated leadership and a strong commitment to service in the community. While a declared major is not required, preference will be given to eligible candidates majoring in programs related to first responder fields (i.e. fire services, criminal justice, etc). Preference will also be given to eligible students from or residing and attending school in Louisiana. The Christopher Lawton Memorial Scholarship, in the amount of $1,000, is awarded for a single academic year.
Global First Responders Scholarship
The First Responders Children’s Foundation awards scholarships to children of first responders who either died or became permanently disabled in line of duty. These awards recognize financial need along with academic merit and overall achievement. In 2016 the Global Foundation for First Responders (GFFFR) partnered with the First Responders Children’s Foundation to establish the Global First Responders Scholarship – one of several scholarships awards available through the First Responders Children’s Foundation.
Founded in 2015, the GFFFR mission is to support the families of first responders who lost their lives saving others in the line of duty. These men and women dedicated their lives to helping others and ensuring safety. GFFFR honors these individuals and would like to give back to their families to show appreciation.
Global First Responders scholarship is awarded annually to an incoming freshman who is the child of a first responder who was killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. The scholarship is a $20,000 award over a four year period ($5,000 per year) contingent upon the recipient maintaining all applicant eligibility requirements during the four years of the award.
The Global First Responder scholarship award is based on financial need as well as academic merit and other achievements including demonstrated leadership and a strong commitment to service in the community. Preference for this award will be given to an eligible student who is from or resides and attends school in the New York Tri-state area (NY, NJ, CT).
Victoria Ovis Memorial Scholarship
Victoria Ovis, who passed away suddenly on May 25, 2005, had over 30 years of law enforcement experience with the United States Customs Service and the Department of Homeland Security. This scholarship honors an outstanding student each year in Victoria’s memory with an award in the amount of $2,000 for a single academic year.
The Victoria Ovis Memorial scholarship is awarded annually to a child of a law enforcement officer who was killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Awards are based on financial need, academic merit, and achievements such as leadership, outstanding performance in the arts or sports, and/or volunteer activities benefiting the community. The recipient must be a student from or reside and attend school in New York State or the New York metropolitan area. A declared major is not required, but preference will be given to eligible candidates who are majoring in criminology or pre-law. The Victoria Ovis Memorial Scholarship is awarded for a single academic year and is not renewable.
Vincent Bennett, Jr. Memorial Scholarship
Vincent Bennett, who passed away suddenly on September 19, 2013, was a Manager for Cisco Systems in Iselin, N.J. for 15 years, and an integral member of First Responders Children’s Foundation’s inaugural Hero Awards Gala Committee. The Gala was near and dear to Vince’s heart as he came from a family of first responders. He was a member of the National Sheriffs’ Association and an associate member of the International Association of the Chiefs of Police. In Vince’s memory, the scholarship named for him will honor one exceptional freshman each year with a four year award.
Vince’s “Rules for Life” were:
- Do the right thing
- Often, less is more
- Don’t advertise – deliver
- Enjoy life to its fullest
- Laugh often
- Be grateful
The Vincent Bennett, Jr. Memorial scholarship is awarded annually to an incoming freshman who is the child of a law enforcement officer or firefighter who was killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. This award recognizes financial need, academic achievement, and the candidate must show a strong commitment to service in the community. A declared major is not required, but preference will be given to eligible candidates who are majoring in engineering.
The scholarship is a $20,000 award over a four year period ($5,000 per year). The awardee must maintain all academic eligibility requirements during the four years of the award. The submission deadline is May 31 for the academic year beginning in the Fall.
If you’re the child of a first responder, please submit an application to be considered for one of the First Responders Children’s Foundation scholarships. In addition, you may also qualify for other scholarships from the organizations listed below.