We believe in helping to ensure the success of student leaders who care about their communities. The Center for Quality Communities scholarship supports high school seniors who are actively engaged with their community and/or city government and plan to pursue post-secondary education. The scholarship fund is supported by people who are passionate about cultivating Washington’s future local leaders.

Check out our 2020 scholarship winners.
I am a city official. How do I nominate a student?
I am a student. How do I apply?

Nominating students

All of Washington’s 281 cities and towns can recruit scholarship applicants. Each jurisdiction can nominate one scholarship applicant to the Center for Quality Communities.

How do you select and nominate?

Cities are important partners in the selection process. Here’s how you do your part:

  • Each city decides how it wants to select a local nominee. It can be competitive and open to the community at large. You can recruit from active city volunteers or solicit applications from your local schools. You can limit your recruitment to city residents only.
  • Publicize the scholarship. Here is a flyer.
  • Collect the completed scholarship application packets.
  • Select one candidate to nominate using the scholarship ranking sheet.
  • Write a letter of support for the nominee.
  • Your city’s selection – including the student’s application packet and your letter of support – must be emailed or postmarked by March 12, 2021.
    Send by email: Karen Tanner
    Send by mail:
    AWC Center for Quality Communities Scholarship Fund
    1076 Franklin St. SE
    Olympia, WA 98501-1346

Some tips to help you with your community’s scholarship process


Review the Center for Quality Communities scholarship information. Identify a city contact who will receive the scholarship applications. Set an application deadline. Your city’s nominee application packet must be emailed or postmarked to the AWC Center for Quality Communities by March 12, 2021.

Each city can decide its eligibility requirements. Some criteria to consider:

  • Is the scholarship limited to students living within city limits?
  • Is the scholarship limited to active volunteers in city programs? Or does it extend to school and other community activities?
  • Do you want to partner with your local schools or service organizations to publicize the scholarship and recruit applicants?

Outreach – How do you want to spread the word?

If you’re doing a community-wide recruitment:

  • Post on your website.
  • Include in city publications.
  • Send to your community newspaper. Sample press release.
  • Post in city hall, the library, the community center.
  • Announce at community meetings and service clubs.

If you’re recruiting only from city volunteers:

  • Post in city hall.
  • Advertise with city staff who work with student volunteers.
  • Send information to student volunteers.
  • Personally recruit student volunteers.

If you’re working directly with a high school:

  • Send scholarship information to the high school career office.
  • Let the school newspaper help publicize the scholarship.


Get your team organized.

  • Name a selection committee to review the applications and name a scholarship nominee.
  • Go over the eligibility and ranking criteria before reviewing applications.

Select a nominee.
Now comes the fun part!

  • Use your scholarship ranking sheet to select one student to nominate.
  • Write a letter of support for your nominee.
  • Send the student application packet and letter of support  to AWC Center for Quality Communities. Application must be emailed or postmarked by March 12, 2021.

How do I apply?

Each city and town can nominate one student for the scholarship. The nominee recruitment and selection process is done by your city. A nomination will be sent from the city to the Center for Quality Communities by March 12, 2021. Check with your city to find out the local deadline for students to apply.


Students interested in competing for the Center for Quality Communities scholarship must be:

  • Involved (or have been involved) with a city government or a community and/or school leadership activity;
  • Eligible to graduate from high school, completed home schooling, or receive a GED in spring/summer 2021;
  • A Washington state resident; and
  • Planning to continue education in the 2021-2022 academic year at an accredited college or trade school on at least a half-time basis.

Interested in applying?

  • Contact your city to see how they are recruiting. (Is it open to the community, limited to students who volunteer with the city, or offered through a partnership with your school?) Information may be posted on your city’s website or you can call your mayor’s office for more details.
  • Complete the Center for Quality Communities scholarship application. It must be returned to your city by the deadline they select.
  • You’ll also need to include a letter of recommendation and a personal essay.
  • Your city will review all the applications and select a nominee to forward to the Center for Quality Communities for consideration.
  • Scholarship winners will be notified in May 2021.