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New scholarship opportunity helps cover costs and build community

New scholarship opportunity helps cover costs and build community

This fall, a new scholarship opportunity is launching for Fort Lewis College students looking for financial and social support. The Denver Foundation and Reisher Family Foundation are partnering with FLC to help students cover the cost of attendance while building a community of peers and academic mentors.

The Reisher Scholars Program awards scholarships to Colorado students based on demonstrated financial need and academic merit. The program seeks to help promising students earn their undergraduate degrees without incurring additional educational debt. 

The program designates a staff person to coordinate academic advising, programmatic, and other support services to assist the Reisher Scholars in meeting the program requirements and completing their college degrees.

Fave Johnston, FLC’s Reisher Scholars coordinator and assistant director of Financial Aid, is currently recruiting students for the new program.

“The program is a great way of supporting students who are excelling but are receiving less financial support than others,” Johnston said. “These are exceptional students who maintain a high GPA but have to work really hard to pay for college. The scholarship helps relieve some financial stress, and the program creates social connection and belonging.”

Reisher Scholars will have regular contact with Johnston, including one-on-one support and through multiple events each semester. 

“Reisher Scholars is not just about giving students a scholarship but enrolling them in a program that helps them build community and find the support they need,” she said.

"Reisher Scholars is not just about giving students a scholarship but enrolling them in a program that helps them build community and find the support they need."


The Reisher Scholars Program is unique in that it focuses on rising college sophomores and transfer students from community colleges who have already demonstrated academic and leadership potential as undergraduates. Reisher Scholar awards are full unmet-need scholarships and range from $4,000 to $15,000 per year. Applicants must meet a variety of eligibility requirements, including a GPA of 3.0 or higher, demonstrated financial need, and involvement in service activities.

Provided that the scholars continue to meet the program requirements, students selected to be Reisher Scholars at the end of their first year at FLC are eligible to receive grants for three academic years. Scholarship awards can be used toward tuition, fees, books, room and board, and other direct educational expenses. Awards can also be used for summer courses and study abroad, with the help and nomination from the Reisher coordinator.

"The Denver Foundation and the Reisher Family Foundation are thrilled to bring the Reisher Scholars Program to Fort Lewis College,” said Jack Czarniecki, senior scholarships officer at The Denver Foundation. “Fort Lewis College will expand the program’s reach to the southwest region of the state, offering promising undergraduate students the opportunity to finish their degrees without incurring additional student debt. We can't wait to welcome the first cohort of Reisher Scholars to Fort Lewis College in the fall of 2023 and watch the community grow over the coming years."

FLC is The Denver Foundation’s eighth partner institution in the state. In a first for the program, out-of-state students receiving the Native American Tuition Waiver at FLC are also eligible for a Reisher Scholars award. 

“This philanthropic partnership helps fuel our strategic goals to be the higher education institution of choice for Indigenous students and for Colorado residents interested in an intimate, experiential, and place-based learning environment,” said Melissa Mount, vice president of Advancement and CEO of the FLC Foundation. “The generosity and vision of the Reisher family through The Denver Foundation have positively impacted hundreds of students in Colorado, and we are thrilled to be their next Partner Institution, expanding their support for Colorado residents and students receiving the Native American Tuition Waiver at Fort Lewis College.”

The program was established in 2001 by the Reisher family. Roger and Margaret Reisher came from modest means and were the first in their families to attend and graduate from college. Appreciating how much their education impacted their lives and success in the banking industry, the Reishers established the program to help fill a gap in Colorado student financial aid. While many scholarships help students get started on their college journey, the Reisher Scholarship is designed to help provide students with the financial means to complete their undergraduate degrees. 

From 2001 to 2021, 1,978 students received Reisher support, totaling more than $33.1 million in scholarships. The Reisher Scholars Program continues to grow, expanding its reach and impact to help strong students finish even stronger.

Apply for the Reisher Scholars Program

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