Americal Scholarship Program of the Americal Legacy Foundation
Updated December 31, 2022
Essay topic for 2023 applications: How Can The United States Improve Relations With Its Allies?
The purpose of the Americal Scholarship Program of the Americal Legacy Foundation (ALF) is to provide undergraduate college and vocational scholarships to the children and grandchildren, including those by adoption, of current and deceased members of the Americal Division Veterans Association (ADVA), provided the deceased member held good standing as an ADVA member at the time of death, and to any child or adopted child of an Americal Division soldier who was killed or died while on active duty with the Division. A member of the ADVA shall be as defined in the current bylaws of the ADVA.
The Americal Scholarship Program was created in 1994 by the ADVA under the direction of Mr. Joe Chin, National Finance Officer, Mr. Peter Messina, National Judge Advocate, and Mr. Ronald Ward, Scholarship Program Chairman. The founding contribution was made by Dr. Robert Muehrcke, veteran of the 132nd Infantry Regiment. Subsequent chairmen have been Bob Short and Ron Green. The current chairman is William Bruinsma.
The Americal Scholarship Program transferred to the Ameical Legacy Foundation by a vote of the ADVA Executive Council and ADVA members at the 2014 annual business meetings at the national reunion in Houston, TX. As such, the Americal Scholarship Program is under the supervision and management of the Board of Directors of the Americal Legacy Foundation. The directors have the authority to approve or deny any requests for grants and to recommend the raising and dispensing of funds. The directors receive no compensation for their service and contribute their time as unpaid volunteers.
In the first twenty years of the Americal Scholarship Program approximately $500,000 was raised and awarded to over 600 individual scholars. Scholars may apply in more than one year and may receive awards in more than one year. Awards are for undergraduate studies and are not granted for graduate work. Awards are made payable to the educational institution on behalf of the scholar.
The number and amount of awards vary from year to year. Amounts of individual awards have been between $500 and $4,000 as decided by the directors. Scholarship applications are ranked by an outside committee that is blind to the relationship of the applicant to any current or former ADVA or ALF officer or director. Applicants are scored entirely on their proven eligibility to apply, the completeness of their application packages, and the quality of their submitted essays.
The funds of the Americal Scholarship Program are obtained primarily from donations and grants, gifts, devises, or bequests. All funds received must be unconditional. The major sources of income are unsolicited gifts and the annual direct-mail fund raising campaign of the Americal Division Veterans Association. Past and current gifts to the Americal Scholarship Program are used only for scholarships and associated costs and are not used for other programs by the ADVA or Americal Legacy Foundation.
Annual scholarship program expenses, mainly for printing and postal costs, are approximately $2,500. In recent years the annual income from gifts and donations averaged approximately $30,000. The efficiency of the Americal Scholarship Program is 90%-95% depending on the annual income received. In the immediate past years, annual contributions, investment income, and reserve funds have provided about $35,000 per year in grants for qualified applicants.
Completed application forms together with all required enclosures must reach the Americal Scholarship Program Chairman at an address he designates no later than 1 May of each year. The application form requires the following of the applicant: name, address, high school attended, high school graduation date; father's name, occupation, mother's name, occupation, sponsoring ADVA member's name, dates with Americal Division, unit, and highest rank or grade; if parents are deceased, name and address of guardian; name and address of school to be attended; and applicants signature.
In addition to the above, all of the following information must be included with the Americal Scholarship Program application:
- A letter from the sponsor describing the applicant’s eligibility to apply, e.g., the relationship of the applicant to the ADVA member or deceased member. If sponsorship is obtained through a deceased ADVA member, the letter should be written by another family member. Include information about the sponsor’s service in the Americal Division or 23rd Infantry Division. Include information about the sponsor’s membership in the ADVA. The Americal Scholarship Program will verify the eligibility of applicants.
- A Letter of Admission from the applicant’s college or vocational school of choice. Scholarships are for undergraduate study only. (Disregard if previously submitted.)
- A letter from the applicant’s high school principal attesting to the applicant’s character if applicant is attending or has just graduated from high school. (If applicant is currently attending college, please disregard this requirement.)
- A photocopy of the applicant’s high school or college transcript.
- A detailed statement of the applicant’s academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities, community service involvement, etc.
- For applications dated on or before May 1, 2023 the applicant’s 300-400 word essay is to be on the question, How Can The United States Improve Relations With Its Allies?
Completed application forms together with all required enclosures must be submitted to the Americal Scholarship Program Chairman by U.S. Postal Service mail at the following address, postmarked not later than 1 May of each year:
William Bruinsma Click here for Application form
5425 Parmalee Road
Middleville, MI 49333
Americal Scholarship Update
By Bill Bruinsma, Scholarship Chairman
Applications for the Americal Legacy Foundation Scholarship Program for are due on May 1. The annual essay topic has been chosen.
There are three changes that are being made for the awards.
First: Scholarship funds may also be used for on campus housing. Many schools require first and second year students to live on campus. From past experience and recent comments it is more expensive on campus than living and eating off campus. No funds will be awarded for off campus costs.
Second: We will use the Grade Point Average (GPA) from the previous school term. This should provide a consistent grade evaluation basis.
Third: We will also accept applications that are submitted without letters of recommendation. I have talked to some teachers and was told it may be difficult to get letters to students to forward with their scholarship applications. Teachers are feeling the strain of video teaching. Some teachers have switched from video to in-person then back to video.
It is extremely important that all applicant information is correct, complete, and legible. In the past there has been considerable problems with contacting applicants. This is due to the fact that parts of the application are difficult to impossible to read. This means additional time and effort is required to decipher the information. In some cases it means going to the extent of contacting the sponsor for needed information about the applicant.
Applications must be legible. Less than thirty percent are in this category. If it is necessary to study an application or use other means to get required information it will count against applicant. As mentioned above communication contacts are also considered in judging. If it necessary to try several times and different ways to contact the applicant it counts against them.
The largest and most important part of the application is the essay. Essays are judged by three current high school English teachers. I usually do not read essays. There were fifty-seven essays in 2020. Six were considered to be in the correct form of an essay. Fifteen had no name, seven were in a letter form, and six had no title. Many of the essays that had a name and title appeared to be written in haste and were of poor quality. This continues to be a problem. Please recognize the importance of submitting a high quality scholarship application.