Advisors of the Sandbox Foundation are preparing to receive and review scholarship applications from high school seniors in 2020.
In 2019, six recipients split more than twice the original targeted funds of the foundation, as compared to when the fund was established in 2015. Advisors admit that the first year was a struggle to get the word out. Even after a strong advocacy from the counseling office of Romeo High School, the foundation received only a handful of applications from graduating seniors that year.
Almost thirty applications were received in each of the last two years, with Romeo High School providing the dominant portion of applications. A total of 24 scholarships have been granted by the foundation in its first four years, with the smallest award being $2,500.
Past recipients have come from Romeo, Dakota, Utica, De Lasalle, and L’anse Creuse North high schools, while the foundation focuses primarily on graduating seniors from Macomb County, Michigan.
Applications can be downloaded from the foundation’s web site at: http://sandboxfoundation.org/site/index.php/applications/
Applications are accepted between Jan. 1st and March 1 of each year.
Each of the three foundation advisors reads all of the applications submitted, privately. They then come together to present their personal prospects for the annual “Inspiration,” the “Barbara Faye” and the “Wayne” scholarships.
Recipients of those scholarships are also eligible for a subsequent year scholarship called the “Continuing Scholarship”. A total of nine continuing scholarships have been granted in the first four years.
The Kuchenmeisters first began awarding scholarships in 1997 at Romeo High School, when the “Kuchenmeister Family Scholarship” was established. Any recipient of a Kuchenmeister Family Scholarship, in the most recent five years, is also eligible to apply for the Sandbox Foundation Continuing Scholarship. The Kuchenmeister Family Scholarship continues to be awarded annually.
The Kuchenmeisters said that it was particularly rewarding to grant the first scholarship to a L’Anse Creuse North High School graduate in 2019, which is where Rock and Cheryl first met as high school sweethearts.
The Kuchenmeisters hold at least one private fundraiser each year in their home, as a wine and food event. Participants bring two bottles of wine to the event. The first bottle is uncorked and served, while the second is sold in silent auction. The annual event raises funds for at least one scholarship, and often two.
“We’re not changing the entire world here. We don’t know which one of our recipients is going to be a future president. But it’s clear we’re having a positive effect on some very well deserving kids”, said foundation co-founder Rock Kuchenmeister.