her scholarship program

Founded by Annette Stoddard-Freeman and Sally Grootemaat in 1996, the HER Scholarship Program helps women gain access to economic self-sufficiency and long-lasting financial security through higher education. The inspiration came from Annette’s own experience as a widow facing difficult financial circumstances after the death of her first husband.

Scholarship recipients are women who are non-traditional students, sophomores aged 35 or older, who face financial barriers to obtaining their degrees. These women have the passion to achieve, they have set a goal, and are determined to cross the stage.

We know by obtaining a college degree, women earn more. This program provides women the opportunity to permanently increase their economic well-being and their capacity to provide for their families. Children of college-educated mothers also fare much better in terms of educational attainment, health outcomes, and economic potential. Helping a woman supports generations, lifts entire families, and improves social status.

Each year, many donors make generous gifts to the HER Scholarship Program. In addition, the HER Scholarship Endowment Fund helps support these ambitious women students.

HER Scholars: Academic Year 2023/24

One of the most inspiring components of our mission work is providing scholarships to women who are pursuing their first college degrees. These women are 35 years or older, have full lives, and complex responsibilities that often include children, aging parents, full time employment, personal struggles to overcome generational poverty and trauma… all while carrying at least 9 credits and often more like 12 or 15 per semester. The ambition is admirable, the determination impressive.


Lindsey Fay-Broe
Education, December 2024

Aletha Jones
Early Childhood Education, May 2025

Alyese Mason
Leadership Management, December 2024

Stephanie J. Hays-Barkley
Art Therapy, December 2023

Miriam Lezama
Business Administration, December 2024

Latoya Martin
Nursing, May 2024

Jamie Less Palm
Nursing, May 2025

 Cynthia Perkins
Social Work, May 2024

 Mary Catharine Safranski
Fashion Design, May 2024

Holly Anne Langenburg
Health Sciences & Kinesiology,
December 2023

 Esmeralda Martinez
Social Work & Psychology, December 2024
Funded in partnership with College Endowment Association

Michelle Suzan Schaeffer
Environmental Geography, May 2024

Tiffani Smith
Social Work and Criminal Justice, December 2023

Big Impact

“I can’t tell you how big an impact Women’s Fund had on me. I’m always grateful for cool women who are willing to help other women realize their own potential.”

— Barbara, HER Scholar

It's possible

“It came at a time when I needed it most. Above all, to be associated with the WF makes me feel like I am a whole person; makes me want to be involved, give back, and do more.”

Gold, HER Scholar

Celebrate potential

“I remember feeling really special receiving the HER scholarship. It made me realize that I had great potential. I hope I used my potential well.”

— Sylvia, HER Scholar


$465,500 in scholarships awarded

in support of 151 HER Scholars

Former WF board director and long-time supporter Missy Levit announced a $2,500 challenge grant in celebration of her 75th birthday! Missy proudly matched all gifts made to the Women’s Fund in support of the HER Scholarship program for an entire month. Thank you, Missy, for your generosity.
Dietitian and HER Scholarship recipient, Bridgett Wilder, talks about her mission to help others through food. “Health is wealth by way of nutrition,” is one of Wilder’s mottos. Read More
The world of nursing has changed dramatically and healthcare workers are now referred to as “being on the front line.” Lynette is not afraid even though it is scary.
Read More


Jerri Washington, Chair
Kenyatta Barber
Tara Blaesing
Leandra Evans

Melissa McCord
Cheryl Moore, PhD
Kathleen Turner, HER Scholar
Bridgett Wilder, HER Scholar