In collaboration with Together We Rise - Foster Love, the BrandSource Scholarship provides access to academic and workforce opportunities for America's current and former foster youth. To accomplish this, scholarship recipients receive up to $11,000 in an effort to alleviate the financial burdens associated with securing a trade certification, license and/or vocational degree. To ensure their long-term success, recipients can receive access to personal mentorship and career development services.
Applicants must be pursuing the following trades:
- Appliance Repair Technician
- Carpentry & Woodwork
- Cabinet Making
- Electronics Repair
- Equipment Operator
- Industrial Mechanical Service
Up to two years of academic support to help with program costs.
Rent support, academic housing needs, and relocation services.
Tools & Equipment
Specialized tools and equipment needed for each student's trade.
Job readiness and life skills for the modern workforce.
Emotional support and wrap-around services for the student.
BrandSource is the leading member-owned buying organization for independent appliances, home furnishings, and consumer tech dealers. Brandsource has over 4,500 locally-owned appliances, electronics, bedding, home furnishings, and floor covering stores all across the country.
The BrandSource mission is to provide business solutions to meet their member dealers' merchandising, marketing, financial and operational needs. Our suite of proprietary services includes marketing, retail financing, merchandising programs, training, strategic planning, servicer support, and website design and hosting.
Frequently Asked Questions
This FAQ panel answers some common questions regarding the application, selection, and admissions process. Please visit our contact us page for additional information.
How do I apply?
Step 1 - Complete the online application.
Step 2 - Verification documents must be uploaded to the student's application portal. An email containing the link to the personalized upload portal will be provided upon completion of step one. The following documents are required:
Proof of Foster Care Status
Acceptance Letter to Trade Program (transcript of grades applicable for current trade student)
Headshot/Selfie Photograph for Professional Use
When can I apply?
The scholarship application window will open on February 28th and will remain open on a rolling basis until all spots are filled. Once closed, applications will not be accepted until the following application cycle. We recommend signing up for our newsletter for more information about this and other scholarships.
What are the eligibility criteria to apply for this scholarship?
- The applicant must be 18-25 years of age during the application year. Applicants aged seventeen (17) years old can apply with a guardian's signature. Applicants turning twenty-five (25) years before August 1st of the application year can apply.
- The applicant has been accepted into or expects acceptance into an accredited two-year public or nonprofit college or vocational-technical school for the upcoming academic year with the intent to enroll on a full-time basis.
- The applicant is a citizen of the United States of America.
- The applicant graduated from high school or passed General Educational Development (GED) testing, or is currently a high school senior or on track to complete GED.
- The applicant (a) lived in public or private foster care in the United States for the twelve (12) consecutive months leading up to and including the Recipient’s eighteenth (18th) birthday, or (b) was adopted or placed into legal guardianship from foster care after Recipient’s thirteenth (13th) birthday, or (c) was orphaned for at least one (1) year at the time of Recipient’s eighteenth (18th) birthday.
- The applicant must be majoring in a two-year trade degree or certification within one of the following fields: Appliance Repair, Carpentry, Cabinet Making, Electrician, Plumbing, Equipment Operator, Electronics Repair, and Industrial Mechanics Service.
Can I apply if I was never in foster care?
No, this scholarship is solely reserved for individuals who experienced foster care in the United States. No exceptions will be made.
Can this scholarship be used for four-year professional studies or post-graduate studies?
No, this scholarship is reserved solely for current and former foster youth who are pursuing a trade certification at an accredited two-year public or nonprofit college or vocational-technical school. No exceptions will be made.
Can I use the scholarship at any college and for any trade?
The scholarship will only accept applicants pursuing the following trades: Appliance Repair, Carpentry, Cabinet Making, Electrician, Plumbing, Equipment Operator, Electronics Repair, and Industrial Mechanics Service. Funding to private or for-profit college programs will not be considered.
I am in a trade program with only a few months remaining before completing my certification, and I meet the qualification criteria. Can I still apply?
Yes, the scholarship can assist in getting you to the finish line! Know that funding is only available while you complete your certification program and is not intended to pay down or pay back any student loans you may have withdrawn.
Is there an educational requirement for GPA or academic performance?
No, this scholarship does not have academic requirements to apply, however, the scholarship selection committee will take into consideration students that have performed exceptionally well during their high school and post-secondary years. If academic performance suffered during that time, the applicant should use their personal statement to address their challenges and how they plan to overcome them in the future.
How soon will funding be distributed to students awarded the scholarship?
Students will be allowed to access their annual allocated funds in August of the application year., Students must comply with program academic expectations and abide by program policy to maintain funding year to year, for up to 2 years, or upon completion of the trade program, whichever occurs first. The Scholarship is not a lump-sum scholarship and funding will be distributed at the sole discretion of Foster Love.
What can the funds be used for?
These funds are to be used strictly for education-related expenses which can include tuition; administration fees; room & board including off-campus housing; academic supplies including workplace tools and academic technology; textbooks & access codes; tutoring; wellness services; professional & leadership development; relocation costs; travel to academic, employment, or program events; and other academic-related expenses tied to the students' trade program.
Required Verification Documents
What verification paperwork is required to complete the application?
Foster Love - Together We Rise must receive all of the following documents to complete an application:
- Proof of Foster Care Status
- Acceptance Letter to Trade/Vocational Program
- Headshot/Selfie Photograph for Professional Use
Paperwork must be received no later than the application deadline. Documents not received within the application window will not be reviewed.
Proof of Ward of the Court, Guardianship, or Foster Care Documentation
Physical verification of foster care status is
required. Documentation may include copies of the ward of the court letter,
guardianship documentation, a verification letter from a social worker or
advocate, or court documentation clearly stating the applicant’s experience
in foster care.
If you have difficulty securing this information you should begin by locating your state’s child welfare agency or ombudsman office. No exceptions will be made for individuals who were never in foster care or for individuals that cannot secure proof of foster care status.
Proof of Acceptance into Trade Program
A copy of the trade program/college admissions letter is required. If the applicant is still deciding on which program to attend, all application and admissions letters must be provided. If the applicant is currently enrolled at a trade school, they may provide their college/trade school transcripts instead of an admissions letter. Copies of a current transcript can be requested from the college academic advisor, school administrator/registrar, or made available through the applicant's school portal.
An appropriate photo of the applicant will be required. The photo will be used by the selection committee to identify the applicants during the video interviews and for professional marketing purposes should the student be selected.
The photo must be taken in portrait mode, from the shoulders and up, taken with a plain background, taken in the best lighting possible, and must not appear blurry. Do not add any filters, stickers, or modify the image. A selfie is fine as long as it meets the requirements noted above.
Am I required to submit proof of citizenship?
Proof of citizenship will be required during finalist
selection. Applicants born in the United States will require proof in the
form of (1) a U.S. birth certificate, (2) a US-issued passport, or (3) a US
Certificate of Citizenship.
Applicants not born in the United States but who are US Citizens are required to provide proof in the form of (1) a copy of a photo ID from your United States-issued passport which includes your full legal name, or (2) a copy of your citizenship certificate.
Applicants with Permanent Resident Status or Undocumented individuals are not eligible for this scholarship.
What if I don’t know my foster care status or do not have the appropriate documentation?
The applicant will be responsible for securing the necessary paperwork. The applicant can start by contacting their social worker’s office and requesting proof of foster care. The applicant can ask their guardian or foster family. The applicant can contact their county social services office or state child welfare offices or the state ombudsman office to secure documentation.
I lived in public or private foster care for less than twelve consecutive months before my eighteenth birthday. Can I apply?
In most circumstances, the applicant will not be eligible. We encourage the applicant to contact Foster Love with supporting documentation to assess their foster care status. We ask that the applicant not apply until a Foster Love staff approves their foster care status.
What if I am no longer in contact with my social worker? What do I enter on the online application?
Include any and all information from your last known social worker or social service advocate on your application. Do your best to source this information by contacting your most recent social services office.
I was orphaned for less than one year before my eighteenth birthday. Can I apply?
The applicant should contact Foster Love with their supporting documentation. Foster Love will assess the foster care status and make a determination thereafter. We ask that the applicant not apply until a Foster Love staff approves their foster care status.
I was placed into kinship care from foster care, can I apply?
Yes, applicants can complete the online application and submit their supporting documents.
I am 17 years of age (or younger). Can I apply?
Applicants 17 years of age can apply with a guardian's approval. Applicants younger than 17 are not eligible to apply until they turn 17 years old with guardian approval. If selected, funding will be adjusted accordingly until the recipient's 18th birthday. Know that at no point will funds be distributed to a guardian, family, or anyone besides the student.
I am or will be 25 years of age before August of the application year. Can I apply?
In most circumstances, the applicant will not be eligible to apply. If the applicant feels they have a special case, they will be asked to provide supporting documentation to Foster Love for evaluation. We ask that the applicant not apply until Foster Love approves the circumstance.
How to Upload Documents
How to upload documents
An upload link will be provided to each applicant
upon completing the initial digital application. The applicant will be
instructed to provide the required paperwork, preferably saved in PDF, PNG,
JPEG, or JPG format and no more than 25MB in file size.
Scanning or photographed documents are acceptable as long as all digital documents are legible, clear, and contain all pages included in the original document. Missing pages or unclear documents could delay the application review process.
How will I know my application has been received and/or completed?
A confirmation email will be issued informing each applicant that their information was received. If documentation is missing or cannot be accepted, Foster Love will contact the applicant through email with additional steps to provide the correct paperwork.
I do not have a photo scanner or a way to upload documents. What should I do?
The applicant can use a working camera or cell phone
to take photos of the full document and upload them using the provided link.
The applicant should review that the image is visible before uploading any
documents. Photos that are not clear or are cut off will not be accepted.
Another option includes scanning documents at a school, a local library, or with their employer. For a minimal fee, copy centers like Office Depot, Staples, FedEx Office, UPS Store, and others will scan those documents.
Can I save my application and upload documents at a later date?
Yes. Documents may be uploaded individually or all together. The portal will remain available 24/7 during the application window.
I would like to update the documents I provided, how do I replace my old documents?
Using the upload link provided, the applicant can provide us with new documents to replace old or incorrect documents. The applicant should also email Foster Love to inform staff of such corrections.
Scholarship Selection & Award
When and how will I be notified of the scholarship selection?
All notifications will be emailed to the applicants soon after the application is closed. All scholarship selections will be final.
How are students selected for this scholarship?
A selection committee is tasked with identifying the most qualified candidates for the scholarship. The committee will select the top finalists to participate in a series of scored interviews and the highest-scoring applicants will be selected. All applicants agree to accept the decisions as final.
I made a mistake on my application and I would like to correct it. What do I do?
Please contact Foster Love through email with your request and the information you would like to edit. To avoid creating duplicate applications, please do not submit a new application.
Do I need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before applying for this scholarship?
No, but it is highly recommended that all applicants apply for Federal Student Aid. Please visit https://studentaid.gov/ for more information about the application and deadlines for financial aid. It is also recommended that all current and former foster youth identify the state financial benefits offered for transitioning foster youth.
What address should I use on my application?
Use your current mailing address on your application. If you will be moving please keep us informed of your new address. If you do not have a mailing address, please contact Foster Love for additional assistance.
If I applied for other Foster Love programs and was not awarded funding, can I apply to this program?
Yes, you are welcome to apply as long as you still meet our eligibility requirements.
Do recipients need to pay the scholarship back?
No. This award is not a loan and will not require you to repay it back to Foster Love.
If I graduate before the 2 years or have not used my entire scholarship, do I have access to those funds?
No, funding is intended to only support trade students during the completion of their vocational certification for up to two consecutive years. Recipients are not entitled to receive the full scholarship amount. Recipients will not be allowed to spend down funding. Annual funding will not transfer over from year to year.
What are the benefits of becoming a Scholar?
In addition to the monetary award, recipients receive one-on-one support to navigate through their trade program in preparation for the professional workforce. Recipients are given the opportunity to participate in Foster Love national events and apply for internships with partnering companies. Recipients will participate in annual leadership development events, peer-to-peer retreats, career-building workshops, and much more!