A dedicated director establishes a program of learning, leadership, and service for participating students.The MacDonald Scholars program is a general concept that can be tailored to individual schools, respecting their existing program infrastructure, priorities, and capabilities. Schools will administer the programs and make all key implementation decisions including selecting individuals who are invited to participate. Key elements of the program include:

  1. Alumni and school supporters endow scholarships which pay need-qualified students to undertake approved community service projects in the name of the donors.
  2. Student applicants are selected for participation by the school based on financial need, community service interest, and perceived leadership potential.
  3. Students participate up to four years if they meet service requirements.


The MacDonald Scholars fund was established by Scott MacDonald, who aggregates donor contributions in his donor-advised fund at Fidelity Charitable and intends to use the donor-advised fund to support scholarships at participating universities. In addition, and as to be agreed with participating universities, it will fund start up costs required to implement the program at qualified institutions. The fund may also endow scholarships at participating schools.


To establish the MacDonald Scholars program, fully accredited four-year residential universities and colleges may apply for start-up funding or scholarships. Funds may be provided to hire a program director and pay essential administrative costs during the first year, with successful applicants setting up a student mentoring program and a funding program during this time. Funds to endow future scholarships may be provided but most funding will come from university donors.

The donor solicitation should not be difficult; donors are asked for a modest sum (estimated $125,000 per scholarship) and in return are assured that a student accomplishes goals in their name for the remainder of the donor’s life and even beyond. This is a legacy opportunity for those who cannot or do not wish to fund a new building or make other significant contributions. The program should not interfere or compete with other university solicitations.

Donor contributions may also be received over time, depending on the school. $25,000 per year for 5 years could endow a community scholarship.

University Responsibility

Recipient schools are responsible for administrative decisions, including where the program will be housed, what students are selected, what projects are to be undertaken, staffing, and other issues. The intention of MacDonald Scholars is to provide seed money, with little to no interest in trying to oversee individual program administration and direction. It is likely the programs will differ from campus to campus, based on local resources and organization.

No Direct Scholarships

MacDonald Scholars may endow some scholarships at participating schools but provides no direct scholarships to students. Any requests to fund individual students will not be answered