Pillars of Strength Scholarship Program
The Pillars of Strength Scholarship Program honors the exceptional sacrifices of the volunteer caregivers of our nation's injured servicemembers. Because this extraordinary commitment often causes caregivers to delay their personal pursuits, the fund was established to assist them in achieving their educational goals. The Pillars of Strength Scholarship Program is managed by University of Maryland University College and The Blewitt Foundation in association with the National Military Family Association.
The program kicked off in April 2013 with the awarding of UMUC scholarships to three dedicated caregivers. In April 2015, June 2016, and June 2017, additional caregivers were awarded scholarships for their service to injured family members. Read the inspiring story of 2017 recipient Cara Novas.
FIND OUT HOW THE PROGRAM STARTED
How You Can Help
Your gift to the Pillars of Strength Scholarship Program can help make a positive impact in the lives of family members and friends who serve our country by serving their military loved ones. Up to five scholarships—covering full tuition, fees, and books—will be awarded each academic year to eligible candidates. Consider making a gift today.
Watch Keynote Speeches from Award Ceremonies
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NMFA is a nonprofit dedicated to serving the families who stand behind the uniform. Since 1969, NMFA has worked to strengthen and protect millions of families through its advocacy and programs.
Please note that the Yellow Ribbon Fund sponsored the Pillars of Strength Scholarship Program from its inception in 2013 through 2017.
Photo Gallery: Supporting Volunteer Caregivers of Injured Service Members
On June 28, 2017, five caregivers—Cara Novas, Secret Brutley, Noelle Savage, Hilda Buah-Mensah, and Rachel Williams—were awarded Pillars of Strength Scholarships in a special ceremony at MGM National Harbor. (L to R): John Adams, Yellow Ribbon Fund executive director; Cara Novas; Hilda Buah-Mensah; Noelle Savage; Richard F. Blewitt, The Blewitt Foundation president; Secret Brutley; Javier Miyares, UMUC president. View more photos.
On June 8, 2016, five caregivers—Jessica Brewer, Valerie Gray, Sandralee Jensen, Maril Jakubisin, and Terri Jo Yarnell—were awarded Pillars of Strength Scholarships in a ceremony at UMUC headquarters in Adelphi. (L to R): Jessica Brewer; Richard F. Blewitt; Sandralee Jensen; Javier Miyares; Terri Jo Yarnell; Dave Tarantino, Chairman of the Board, Yellow Ribbon Fund; and Valerie Gray. View more photos.
On April 25, 2015, two more caregivers—Vanessa Engelhardt and Michelle Li—were honored at a special ceremony at the National Press Club and awarded Pillars of Strength Scholarships. (L to R): Mark Robbins, executive director of the Yellow Ribbon Fund; Vanessa Engelhardt, scholarship recipient; Kimberly Dozier, CNN global affairs analyst and keynote speaker; Michelle Yi, scholarship recipient; Javier Miyares; and Richard F. Blewitt. View more photos.
Meet the original three recipients of the Pillars of Strength Scholarship and the soldiers they care for: (L to R) Jessie Fletcher, Emily Ball, Beverly Poyer, Danielle Kelly, and Taylor Morris. Poyer's daughter, Brianna, is front and center. View more photos.