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Scholarship Programs

Progress of Ideas Scholarship

The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation (RSF) was founded in 1925 with the mission to promote the ideas of 19th century social reformer, Henry George.  Our Progress of Ideas Scholarship program echoes that original organizational charge in its focus on economic equity and social justice, and its drive to discern and challenge the drivers of inequality in our systems of governance and taxation.

The scholarship supports the cost of attendance for students in fields of study related to the organization’s mission. We are seeking recipients whose lived experiences have engendered in them a commitment to social justice and a drive to make the world a better place for all people.

Long ago, Henry George wrote, “Social reform is not to be secured by noise and shouting; by complaints and denunciation; by the formation of parties, or the making of revolutions; but by the awakening of thought and the progress of ideas. Until there be correct thought, there cannot be right action; and when there is correct thought, right action will follow.” It is with this in mind that we have created our Progress of Ideas Scholarship.

The program is administered by Scholarship America®, the nation’s largest designer and manager of scholarship, tuition assistance, and other education support programs for corporations, foundations, associations, and individuals.

The application deadline for the 2022-2023 school year has closed.  Please see below to sign up for more information about the program and receive updates for the 2023-2024 school year application.

2022-2023 Progress of Ideas Scholarship Recipients

Tori Vestal

University of Kentucky

Tori Vestal graduated this May 2022 early as a junior majoring in Foreign Languages & International Economics, and will be pursuing her Master's at the University of Kentucky in the fall of 2022. Her career aspirations consist of helping meet the needs of those who have difficulty adjusting, understanding, or acclimating into communities by utilizing languages and serving as a US Ambassador, diplomat, multilinguist, or global doctor. She plans to embrace global studies and bring cultural competency and awareness, which are critical to the successes of daily relationships in every area of society. The Progress of Ideas Scholarship has enhanced her desire to contribute and empower her community and others. The scholarship will be a stepping stone to enhance her goals as a humanitarian, contributing through service, and educating others about the power to care through love and leadership.

Willa F. White

Austin College

Willa F. White is a junior (third year student) enrolled at Austin College. Majoring in Political Science and History, she expects to graduate in 2024. Willa is interested in public policy and hopes to run for office after law school. She is particularly interested in immigration reform and civil rights issues. The Progress of Ideas Scholarship stood out to her because of the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation’s commitment to equality.

Tess E. Gellert

New York University

Tess E. Gellert is a graduate student enrolled at New York University in the MA in Politics program, expecting to receive her Master’s degree in 2024. She hopes to focus on policy issues such as climate change and environmental justice, public health, digital media and society, and gender equality in her studies and career. The Progress of Ideas Scholarship stood out to her due to its emphasis on social reform and education as a driving force for societal change and improvement.

Armani M. Arnold

Michigan State University

Armani is a senior at Michigan State University, majoring in criminal justice, she expects to graduate in 2023. Armani aspires to become a criminal defense attorney to give underprivileged families an equal opportunity to receive rightful justice. In addition, she'd like to aid in programs for prison reform for incarcerated loved ones who were harshly sentenced or wrongfully convicted. The Progress of Ideas Scholarship stood out to her because it gives students a chance to enact their ideas to improve social justice. The scholarship helps Armani reach her goals by allowing her to finish her last year of undergraduate. It will make it a step closer to accomplishing her progressive idea to positively impact her community with legal efforts.

Olga Rodriguez

University of California, Berkeley

Olga Rodriguez is a first-generation, low-income, Latinx student at UC Berkeley from Delano, California. She’s a third year student majoring in Sociology with a minor in Health and Wellness and is expected to graduate in 2024. Olga is interested in pursuing a career in counseling in order to assist underrepresented students navigate higher education. She is grateful to RSF and the Progress of Ideas Scholarship for their commitment to uplifting students and addressing economic and social injustices. She hopes to carry out this same mission in her future career.

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Supporting Georgist Scholarship in Higher Education

Our scholarships support the cost of attendance for students in fields of study related to RSF’s mission, including economics, urban planning, and public policy. The 2022-23 academic year will be the first in which we are granting awards, and even as a brand new opportunity, RSF received nearly 250 applications for its 5 awards – a number we expect to grow as awareness of the program increases in the future.

So who are our ideal scholars? Our criteria are simple: we’re looking for undergraduates in their Junior and Senior years of study, as well as graduate students at any level, whose lived experiences and personal convictions position them to draw inspiration and purpose from Henry George’s teachings throughout their lives.  

In short, we want to ensure that the decision makers of tomorrow are supported in obtaining the educational credentials they will need for success; and can draw on an understanding of Georgist economics, tax policies, and ethics, in their roles as citizens, business owners, and political and thought leaders.

RSF Staff Contact

Nadine Thompson

Program Manager