At IECF, one of our greatest privileges is witnessing the joy on a scholarship recipient’s face and sharing that moment of pride with their beaming family members. We’ve been distributing scholarships for over 80 years, ever since Charles Brouse established the first fund that eventually became our Foundation. Scholarships remain a vital part of our mission to create a vibrant region because today’s students are, after all, tomorrow’s leaders.

Many generous donors have joined Brouse’s goal of giving back to their community by investing in the next generation…and the next. An endowed gift that grows forever will support scholarships well beyond the lifetime of its giver.

For example, in 1979, Leon S. Heseman, a retired assistant treasurer and lifelong Riverside resident, left an endowed gift of $1.3 million to the Foundation to provide scholarships for students attending 4-year institutions. Since then, the Leon S. Heseman Fund has dispersed $3.3 million in scholarships, benefiting students pursuing their educational dreams. Today, the fund’s principal balance is $2.8 million, thanks to IECF’s steady stewardship for longterm growth.

We invite you to learn more about establishing an endowed scholarship fund at IECF! Contact our Charitable Giving Team at and download our free Giving Guide at

Read more about the importance and impact of scholarships:

Coping with Soaring Tuition Costs

Tuition fees in the United States have been on the rise for decades, often outpacing inflation. Scholarships play a critical role in helping our region’s students and their families manage the financial strain by covering part or all of their tuition costs.

Mitigating the Burden of Student Loan Debt

As they face the escalating costs of education, many students turn to loans to fund their studies. Accumulating significant student loan debt can be a long-term financial challenge, impacting graduates for years and delaying milestones like starting a family or purchasing a home. Scholarships offer an alternative means of financial support, reducing the reliance on loans and alleviating the financial pressure on students as they enter the workforce. With less debt upon graduation, students have more resources to invest back into the community.

Fostering Diversity and Inclusion

Scholarships contribute to creating a more diverse and inclusive educational arena. By providing financial assistance to students from various backgrounds, scholarships help break down economic barriers and ensure that talented individuals, regardless of their financial circumstances, have the opportunity to pursue higher education. This diversity enriches the overall educational experience and promotes a more vibrant and inclusive community.

Addressing Economic Disparities

Scholarships are especially important for individuals from lower-income families, helping to level the playing field and contribute to a more equitable society by providing everyone with the chance to access quality education.

Investing in America’s Future Leaders and Innovators

Scholarships enable talented and motivated students to pursue their academic and career goals. By investing in the education of promising students, scholarships contribute to the development of a skilled workforce and the cultivation of future leaders, innovators, and professionals. This, in turn, benefits   our region by fostering a well-educated and dynamic population capable of addressing the challenges and opportunities of the future.

Learn more about the good work we’re doing at IECF through the power of philanthropy. Subscribe to our free monthly eNewsletter, Philanthropy Matters.

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