Through the generosity of anonymous donors, Coastal Community Foundation established the Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program in 2016 to promote access to higher education for African American students from Beaufort, Charleston and Jasper counties. In addition to financial support, Pinckney Scholars are provided consistent mentoring and professional training to ensure their success during and after college.

About the program

Through the Reverend Pinckney Scholarship Program, students are supported with $10,000 scholarships each year, which are renewable as long as certain criteria are met. They attend two in-person professional development and network-building sessions each year, and receive consistent support and coaching from our in-house scholarship specialist, Caroline Rakar. Scholars are able to hone their professional skills, increase their financial literacy, pursue exciting educational opportunities, and build a lasting community of peers and mentors.

Students accepted into the program are expected to:

  • Be committed to attending and graduating from college.
  • Be leaders at school and in the community.
  • Be motivated, intellectually curious and to take advantage of opportunities.
  • Serve as role models and mentors for future classes of Visionaries and Scholars.
  • Maintain transparent, honest, and consistent communication with Foundation Staff.

Criteria for eligibility: Selection criteria include, but are not limited to: satisfactory participation in and completion of the College Readiness Program, substantial financial need, academic performance and letters of recommendation. The selection committee reviews applications and spends time with each candidate to determine which students will become Pinckney Scholars. The committee, which includes Mrs. Jennifer Pinckney, Former Mayor Joe Riley, and Professor Henry Louis Gates, look for character traits and aspirations in applicants that will serve as a fitting legacy to the life of Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney.

Application process and schedule: Applications are accepted in the second semester of students’ senior year of high school. Selections are announced after interviews with the committee in May. Up to 16 students are selected each year.