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What happens after the scholarship?

Composer Chelsea Komschlies receives the 2019 Hermitage Prize at the Aspen Music Festival and School.


This past fiscal 2018-2019 year, the Community Foundation granted a record $1.36 million in total scholarships to 436 students from 60 high schools. These scholarships were generated from among 203 funds created by people, businesses and organizations to help students achieve their education dreams.

Those are the numbers, but we know these award recipients each have a unique story to tell. We hear many of those stories from the students writing to us, thanking the donors who made their scholarships possible.

Chelsea Komschlies

Chelsea Komschlies

One shining example is composer and Appleton native Chelsea Komschlies, who is making good on her Miller Family Music Education Scholarship, a fund within the Community Foundation.

Chelsea is a 2009 graduate of Fox Valley Lutheran High School, and received her undergraduate degree at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. Shortly before heading to grad school, Chelsea wrote:

“The Miller Family Music Scholarship has had a tremendous impact on my education, future, and potential. To be able to graduate from college without debt is a rare gift on its own, but the scholarship has given me blessings beyond this. It is so humbling and heartwarming to see such selfless support of the arts, especially at a time when having a professional career in music is not an easy endeavor. Thank you so much.”

Since then, Chelsea’s music has been performed in 11 countries on four continents around the world. In August, she was the winner of the 2019 Hermitage Prize at the Aspen Music Festival and School She is pursuing her Ph.D. in composition with Jean Lesage at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music. Previously she studied with David Ludwig and Richard Danielpour at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she was awarded the Alfredo Casella Award for composition, and with Dan Kellogg and Carter Pann at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she was awarded the Thurston Manning Composition Award and Cecil Effinger Fellowship in Composition. 

And to think it all started because of the generosity of a donor who is passionate about giving young people like Chelsea a shot at a bright future! The award amount from the Miller Family Music Education Scholarship is up to $25,000 a year for up to four years, making the total award amount of up to $100,000. It is given each year to at least one graduating senior who resides in the Fox Cities or Door County, and who is pursuing a bachelor degree in music education or performance. As this is a significant scholarship, we hold auditions and interviews for those who are under consideration. In May, the Miller Family Music Scholarship Fund was awarded to three local aspiring musicians.


In 2019 we’ve awarded $1.36 million in scholarships to 436 students, thanks to the generous people, businesses and organizations passionate about helping students achieve their education dreams! Check out our scholarships here.

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