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Intro Image - Susan A. Cowell Scholarship

Susan A. Cowell Scholarship

Purpose of Scholarship

For academically talented and community-minded high school graduates continuing their education in college, graduate school, or a trade/technical school.

Application Period

November 1 to February 1

Number and Size of Awards

One award of $1,000; paid in one lump sum in the Fall and divided equally between the Fall and Spring semesters.

Allowed Use of Award

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

Eligibility Criteria

For students who identify as members of the LGBTQ community and:

  • Have a minimum 3.0 GPA (B average) or higher;
  • Are pursuing post-secondary education at a qualifying academic institution — including accredited undergraduate or graduate colleges, universities, community colleges, trade schools, and technical schools — in the eight-county area surrounding Rochester (Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, and Yates counties);
  • Are enrolled or plan to enroll in a program aligned with public health, nonprofit administration, or social justice activism, including social activism through the arts; and
  • Demonstrate a proclivity for social justice activism and/or a desire to positively impact the LGBTQ community.

*Qualifying institutions include accredited undergraduate or graduate colleges, universities, community colleges, trade schools, and technical schools.

Application Process

The application process is coordinated through the Community Foundation, and this scholarship is grouped with other scholarships in our Consolidated Scholarship Application. This means that by completing this one application, you will automatically be considered for any and all other scholarships connected to the Consolidated Application.

To apply for this scholarship and more, complete the Consolidated Scholarship Application.

To continue working on the Consolidated Application or another application you have already started, check the status of your application, or accept and release a scholarship you have been awarded, click here and go to the My Applications tab.

Committee/Selection Process

The selection process is coordinated through the Community Foundation. A committee comprised of Community Foundation staff and other community members reviews applications and selects the recipient(s).

Award Announcement and Payment

The Community Foundation emails an award notification with instructions for claiming the award to the recipient in April. Payment is mailed to the school for the recipient’s account in one lump sum in the Fall and split between the Fall and Spring semesters once required documentation is received.

To release the scholarship payment, upload the requested and required information including your class schedule and tuition bill verifying enrollment to the Community Foundation’s online Consolidated Scholarship Application between July 1 and August 15.

Scholarships not claimed by February 15 in the assigned year will be forfeited. Email scholarships@racf.org with any questions or concerns.


This scholarship is not renewable; however, students may reapply each year they are eligible.


Applicants/Awardees may be asked to meet with a member of the selection committee for evaluation of their applications and to hear about additional leadership development opportunities, including mentoring, internships, and tuition for conferences.

Awardees may be asked to attend a community recognition event.

Donor Information

The Susan A. Cowell Scholarship was created in 2015 by members of the Rochester LGBTQ community in recognition of and gratitude for Susan A. Cowell’s 38 years of political, economic, and social activism in support of the Rochester LGBTQ community. Sue’s unparalleled contributions and achievements during the AIDS crisis — in politics, business, and the arts, and as a social activist and medical provider — made a lasting difference in the lives of so many. Past and present, Sue 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 stand on the “shoulders of a giant” like Sue Cowell.

To make your own gift to this fund, click here.


Email Scholarships@racf.org or call 585.341.4350 for assistance.

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