The Single Parent Scholarship Fund has offered scholarships and support services to single parents in the Northwest Arkansas region since 1984.
Co-Founders Marjorie Marugg-Wolfe and Ralph Nesson had a vision to help single-parents struggling to make ends meet. Beginning with scholarships totaling just $3,450, then Single Parent Scholarship Funds of Benton County and Washington County provided new hope to fifteen families that inaugural semester. Since that time, our reach has grown immensely. As of 2021, 16 million dollars have been awarded to nearly 21,000 single moms and dads in the four county area.
The proven success of our programs in Northwest Arkansas led to the creation of the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund affiliate system, now serving most counties across the state.
In 2021, SPSFBC and SPSFNWA combined efforts. Our united organization now serves all of Northwest Arkansas –Benton, Carroll, Madison, and Washington Counties.
Community volunteers are the heart of our success. Recognizing this strength, President George W. Bush presented our co-founder Marjorie Marugg-Wolfe with the annual Points of Light President’s Community Service Award in 2001. This award is the nation’s highest honor for community volunteers.
At SPSFNWA, we help single parents in Northwest Arkansas create futures for their families by providing direct financial assistance, as well as supportive services for those who are pursuing higher education and live in Benton, Carroll, Madison, and Washington Counties.
Poverty is a true reality for families living in Northwest Arkansas and across our state. Recent studies report 1 in 5 children in Arkansas living at or below the Federal Poverty Level. Arkansas has the fourth-highest child poverty rate in the nation. Data shows that a significant factor contributing to this problem is the lack of access to higher education of the head of household. Arkansas consistently ranks near the bottom of the list of states in per capita residents who hold bachelor’s degrees or higher.
According to a recent comprehensive study conducted by the Survey Research Center at the University of Arkansas, following graduation, SPSFNWA graduates earn, on average, $32,000+ annually, helping lift families out of poverty.