Susan A. Cowell Scholarship

Purpose of Scholarship

To assist students who are LGBTQ identified or in pursuit of secondary education in fields aligned with public health policy, nonprofit administration or social justice activism, including social activism through the arts.


September 9, 2016 (Deadline is the same for requested transcripts, grades, and letters of recommendation. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered)

Number and Size of Awards

One or more awards; minimum award of $1,000

Allowed Use of Award

May be used for tuition, fees, books and other expenses associated with higher education.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicant must:

  • Be a 2016 high school graduate or a current college student;
  • Self-identify as a member of the LGBTQ community;
  • Have a minimum 3.0 GPA (B average) or higher;
  • Be enrolled in a post-secondary educational program, technical school or certificate program in the upcoming academic year or accepted into a school with intentions of attending;
  • Be attending, or planning to attend, a qualifying academic institution in Monroe, Ontario, Wayne, Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, Seneca or Yates County, including accredited undergraduate or graduate colleges, universities, community colleges, trade schools and technical schools;
  • Not be a current Gay Alliance Board member or scholarship selection committee member or the partner or child of either; and
  • Demonstrate a proclivity for social justice activism and/or a desire to positively impact the LGBTQ community.

In addition:

  • Applicants/Awardees may be requested to meet with a selection committee designee for evaluation and to learn of additional leadership development opportunities including mentoring, internships and tuition for conferences.
  • Awardees may be requested to attend a community recognition event in promotion of the Susan A. Cowell Scholarship Fund.

Application Process

Download and complete this application, along with required paperwork (an essay, two letters of recommendation, high school or college transcript, and SAT/ACT scores) and mail to:

Susan A. Cowell Scholarship
c/o Rochester Area Community Foundation
500 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14607

Donor Information

The Rochester LGBTQ Scholarship Funds were created in 2015 by the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley as a way for individuals and organizations to support LGBTQ community members pursuing post-secondary education. The goal is to provide scholarships each year to LGBTQ identified people. 

The Susan A. Cowell Scholarship was the first named scholarship, created in recognition and gratitude for Susan’s 38 years of activism in support of the Rochester LGBTQ community. Her unparalleled contributions and achievements during the AIDS crisis, in politics, in business, in the arts, as a social activist and as a medical provider have made a lasting difference in the lives of so many. Susan stands as a passionate, caring woman who embraces change and continues to create a more just, equitable and welcoming community for all – locally, statewide and nationally. It is hoped that this scholarship will foster leadership skills in those who will build “on the shoulders of a giant," Susan Cowell.

PHONE 585.271.4100 | FAX 585.271.4292 |
500 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607

PHONE 585.271.4100 | FAX 585.271.4292 |
500 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607


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