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Submitting a Nomination for the Niswonger Scholars Program


August 17, 2020

Important Information Regarding the Niswonger Scholarship and Leadership Program

We certainly could not have predicted what the year 2020 would hold. Through these unfortunate circumstances, the Niswonger Foundation has been placed in the position of reassessing each program and activity in consideration of the effects of the pandemic on the potential success of that work.

While we believe most of our programs can continue to perform at the level of quality we would expect, we have had to make the difficult determination that the Niswonger Scholars program must be reconsidered. We will not seek nominations for the Niswonger Scholarship this academic year.

The design of the Niswonger Scholarship and Leadership program requires an intense level of engagement on the part of the Scholars. They live on their respective campuses with a requirement of use their leadership skills. They are required to engage in significant service-learning experiences. The Scholars actively participate in face-to-face leadership training, building relationships and networks with their fellow Scholars. An important part of the leadership development involves significant travel both within and outside the country. In addition to travel experiences in which all Scholars participate, they are encouraged to, also, study abroad and engage in international service projects. COVID-19 has placed all these activities in jeopardy for the foreseeable future.

In lieu of selecting a new class of Scholars, we have set as our goal the care and support of our current 20 Niswonger Scholars. We will spend our time and attention personalizing their leadership development experience to the absolute best of our ability.

Nancy Dishner
President and CEO

Leadership Training

Nomination Requirements

  • Scholarships are currently offered in the following city school districts in Tennessee: Bristol, Elizabethton, Greeneville, Johnson City, and Kingsport; and the following county school systems: Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Sevier, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington.
  • Applicants to the Niswonger Scholarship must be nominated by their school, church, scout troop or other community organization.
  • Individuals may not apply directly for this scholarship.
  • Nominees are in their senior year of high school.
  • Please note: Niswonger Scholars are required to sign a contract stating that for each year of financial support, the Scholars will return to their home communities for at least one year of service in their chosen career. While this is the minimum requirement for Niswonger Scholars, the intent of the program is to identify students with a true desire to live, work and serve in Northeast Tennessee.

Scholar Contract


Nomination Deadline

The nomination deadline is September 25 of the year prior to the planned year of study. Nominations should be mailed or emailed to the following:

The Niswonger Foundation
223 North Main Street
P.O. Box 1508
Greeneville, TN 37744
423.820.8181
[email protected]


The Nomination Packet Must Include the Following:

  • A letter of nomination of not more than two pages explaining why the nominee should be considered.
  • An official copy of the nominee’s most recent academic transcript, including ACT and SAT scores.
  • A completed Scholarship and Leadership Training Program Nomination Form (download form);
  • A resume listing the nominee’s extracurricular accomplishments and community involvements;
  • A writing sample explaining what he or she envisions for his or her future; and
  • A copy of the parents’ last income tax return (1040).

Selection Criteria

  • Leadership ability - including character, drive, energy, initiative and work ethic. We are looking for students who are going to make a positive contribution to their communities.
  • Academic ability - can be demonstrated through grades, coursework (i.e. honors, AP, etc.) and standardized test scores. (Although, all nominees will be considered, stronger ACT/SAT scores greatly support the nominees application.)
  • Financial need - may be represented through evidence of a low family income. Many middle-class families are unable to afford the tuition at elite colleges and universities, particularly if more than one child is attending college.
  • Return to Northeast Tennessee - a signed contract to return to the 1st Congressional District for work and service in their chosen professions.
  • Character - evidence of the highest personal integrity and care and concern for others. This may be exhibited through community service, church related activities, honors and awards for service, etc.

Selection Process

  • The initial nominee screening process will begin upon receipt of the completed nomination packet.
  • The nominee may be invited for a personal interview by a member of the Niswonger Staff upon receipt of the completed nomination packet.
  • The nominee may be selected for an interview with the Niswonger Selection Committee in November.

Final Selection

  • Nominees will be notified, in writing, of the final decision by late November.

For Further Assistance

Barbara Bates
423.820.8213
[email protected]

Dr. Nancy Dishner
423.820.8181
[email protected]

Submitting a Proposal for a School Partnership

Submit Proposal

Proposals for the School Partnership Program are accepted from superintendents or senior site administrators. All proposals must identify a specific area of need based on student academic performance data and reflect the School Improvement Plan. Measurable goals and objectives, relevant financial statements, and a letter of support from the director or board chairperson, must be included. Proposals are accepted year round.

Other Projects

Proposals for support of other projects may also be submitted. Please include a letter of not more than two pages describing how the project will create opportunities for individual and community growth through education or other sustainable project, a budget and a copy of your letter from the IRS stating that your organization is exempt from federal income tax (or otherwise explaining the legal status of your organization). Proposals are accepted year-round.

For Further Assistance

Dr. Nancy Dishner
423.820.8181
[email protected]