JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. – Eleven individuals and 24 organizations were the beneficiaries of scholarships and grants provided by the Fort Myer Thrift Shop, a private nonprofit organization located on the Myer campus of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
In total for 2023, the Fort Myer Thrift Shop awarded $117,000 in scholarships and grants to students, military spouses and military organizations, many of which are located on the installation.
Students up to age 22 who are military family members living in the National Capital Region and hold at least a 3.0 GPA are eligible for the merit-based scholarships. Award amounts vary from year to year.
The maximum award for 2023 was $5,000 given to a high school senior planning to attend the University of Delaware and a college student at Virginia Tech. One Army spouse also received a $4,000 scholarship to attend the University of Alabama.
Scholarship applicants are evaluated based on a variety of factors, said Barb Coffey, Thrift Shop volunteer and member of the scholarship committee. Each factor, including GPA, community and extracurricular activities and SAT score (for high school students), is given a number.
Along with the application, applicants submit an essay which is scored by a panel of readers. The scores are averaged to come up with an overall rating. Then, the applicant receives an overall score based on all the factors combined.
Grants are awarded to military related nonprofit organizations and Army organizations such as Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, Army Emergency Relief and the Cody Child Development Center.
“Everything we do is in an effort to enhance the lives of Soldiers and their families,” said Eileen Ahern, grant committee chair and Thrift Shop volunteer.
“The Marines have a huge organization that offers assistance to their people, so we try to keep ours focused on the Army,” said Leslie Best, the bookkeeper for the Thrift Shop. “That doesn’t mean we’ll turn someone away, but we’ll try to direct them to an organization in their branch.”
Kelly Nebel, director of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation and the acting civilian adviser for BOSS, said the grant money the program received will be used to take the Soldiers on a day trip to Philadelphia and an afternoon of paintball at the Paintball Park at Quantico.
“The Thrift Shop has supported BOSS for many years,” Nebel said. “The money helps offset the cost for single Soldiers who participate in these events.”
The School Age Services program at the CDC received three grants for technology, family-centered events and the Youth Sports and Fitness program.
Ruth Mills, lead Child and Youth Services program assistant, said the grant money will allow the School Age Center to purchase supplies and equipment that will help enhance its programs in the upcoming year as well as continue to support its mission of reducing the conflict between parental responsibilities and unit mission requirement.
The Thrift Shop raises money through a combination of monetary donations and the sale of donated or consigned items.
“Most of the donations come from people who are really passionate about our mission or the parents of students who have received a scholarship from us,” said Stacy DuHadway, social media manager for the Thrift Shop.
The Thrift Shop has awarded more than $1.2 million in just the last eight years.
The deadline for 2023 grant and scholarship applications was April 19, and awards will be handed out no later than June 28. Individuals and groups looking to apply for 2024 scholarships and grants can start applying Jan. 1, 2024.
The Thrift Shop is open from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday and occasionally on Saturdays. For more information about the Thrift Shop and its scholarships and grants, visit: http://www.fortmyerthriftshop.org/.