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The following information was taken in whole from the National American Legion Riders website:


Legacy Scholarship Fund

As an unfortunate consequence of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the global war on terror, many children of our active-duty military personnel are now members of single-parent families. We are raising funds to ensure that higher education will be a reality for these families, but we need your help.

It is estimated that around 10,000 children have lost a parent in the war overseas. That number continues to grow each day. The Legion is actively working to ensure that all those children who want a post-secondary education will be provided one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the Legion doing with the money collected?
A.
Each donation goes into the Legacy Scholarship trust fund, which earns interest to be used for scholarships. Currently, the fund’s principal is $2.9 million. In 2008, $36,000 in aid was distributed to students.

Q. What happens to the trust fund’s principal?
A.
The trust fund remains untouched and grows with each donation. Scholarships are funded by the interest, which has awarded $109,970 in aid since 2004.

Q. Where has the money gone so far?
A.
Scholarships grow in number and dollar amount each year. The first renewable scholarship was worth $2,000 and awarded in 2004. A year later, three $2,000 scholarships were given out. In 2006, six $5,000 scholarships were granted. Eight were awarded a year later for $4,500, and the scholarship number grew to 11 – $3,720 each – in 2008. Sixteen recipients each received $2,250 in 2009. In all, $145,970 has been granted.

Q. Who decides who gets scholarships and how much is awarded?
A.
The national treasurer, with the National Finance Commission’s approval, determines the interest amount available for scholarship funding. By resolution, the National Americanism Commission is empowered to establish further rules, regulations and guidelines for the selection and awarding of scholarships with emphasis on financial need, leadership, scholarship and citizenship. The National Americanism Commission has delegated these duties to the National Committee on Education, which implements the scholarship program.

Q. If an active-duty servicemember is home and is killed outside of war, is his or her child still eligible for the scholarship?
A. The same rules always apply. The deceased parent must have been on active duty with the U.S. military or National Guard, or as a federalized reservist. The place of death is irrelevant, provided that the death happened on or after Sept. 11, 2001.

Q. Will we get a report on how scholarships are being used?
A.
During May meetings, the National Committee on Education reports to the National Americanism Commission about the scholarship recipients and status of the program. The report is included in the National Americanism Commission’s report to the National Executive Committee. A separate copy of the report is sent to each department and posted on the American Legion Riders Web site.

Q. Say a soldier dies when his daughter is 2 years old. She won’t go to college for 15 years. Is that money being put away for her?
A. The money is in the trust, but she has to apply for her scholarship when she is a senior in high school. The number of eligible applicants and money available will determine the scholarship amount.

Q. How much do we need to raise?
A.
Obviously, the more money the fund has, the more interest it will accrue for scholarships. If there was enough money in the principal, full college scholarships could be awarded each year. Unfortunately, that day is far off. It is thought that eventually a minimum of $20 million will be needed to meet the expected need for scholarships.

Q. Will someone be contacting these children, or will they have to find the scholarship on their own?
A.
Ideally, the names and addresses of children who lost a parent would be readily available. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible. The scholarship information is contained in the Legion’s “Need a Lift?” publication, which lists scholarships, grants and loans available for veterans and their children. The information is on the Legion’s Web site, and booklets are distributed annually to public and private high schools across the nation. A representative from a local Legion post should be able to provide the family with the scholarship information and other benefit information at the time of the servicemember’s death.

Q. How many times can a student apply?
A.
Students can reapply each year, provided they remain an undergraduate student. Students must be full-time and maintain adequate progress toward their degree.

Send all questions concerning the American Legion Legacy Run to Bill Sloan at wsloan@legion.org.

Send all questions about the Legacy scholarship to Michael Novak at mnovak@legion.org.