The Education Foundation Inc. of the Colorado National Guard is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation established to provide educational tuition assistance for members of the Colorado National Guard. It was founded in 2004 in response to the increasing financial needs of Colorado National Guard families while the soldiers and airmen responded to the increased demands resulting from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The frequent and extended activations for duty and deployments have resulted in financial hardships for many Colorado National Guard members who leave their full-time civilian employment, often resulting in significant reductions in salaries and additional expenses for their families. The Education Foundation provides financial relief in the form of scholarships to enable the soldiers, airmen, and their families to continue the pursuit of college degrees and trade school programs. Funding for the scholarships is derived from generous donations from charitable foundations, corporations, and individuals.
At its first award ceremony in June of 2004, the Education Foundation awarded 3 grants, each for $500. To date it has awarded over 400 scholarships totaling almost $500,000. Currently the Education Foundation awards $38,000 annually in scholarships. Many of the grants are awarded to the spouses and children of the National Guard members. While most scholarships are to students pursuing undergraduate degrees, several have been for trade school programs as well as advanced degrees. Since students are from families resident to Colorado, most are enrolled in Colorado schools. However, school location is not a factor in selecting the scholars. Criteria for an award include financial need, community involvement, and academic achievement.