The Berlin Community Scholarship Corporation (BCSC) was founded by Sue Yankowski, a local Berlin business owner who was also an active school board member. In 1983 she happened to be reading a Wisconsin School Board Association newsletter when she came across a one-paragraph item about a new community scholarship corporation in Baraboo, Wisconsin. That five-sentence paragraph sparked an idea. She wondered why couldn’t Berlin do the same thing. The concept was simple: solicit memberships from community members, encourage additional donations, and pool the money into one large investment fund. The cost to individuals would be minimal, but the combined amount would eventually generate scholarships for local students.
Never one to sit on a good idea, Sue organized a steering committee to lay the framework for BCSC, which formally organized with Berlin School Board approval in April, 1984. Part of that framework included awarding scholarships, not just to graduating high school seniors, but also to college students to help enable them to complete their educations. Sue Yankowski retired from the BCSC Board of Directors in 2001 after serving as its president for seventeen years. In 1985 the first four BCSC scholarships were awarded totaling $2000. With tremendous growth over the past 29 years BCSC awarded sixty three scholarships totaling $72,750 in 2014.
BCSC is governed by a board of local citizens who represent various groups including businesses, educators, professionals, senior citizens and members at large. Despite the amount of work it takes to run an organization like BCSC, there have never been any paid positions. The corporation is run totally by community volunteers. BCSC is a nonprofit 501.(C)3 corporation making all donations tax deductible. There are a number of ways to support Berlin area students though BCSC including: joining annually for a $10 minimum donation, providing a named scholarship according to your wishes and including BCSC in your estate planning to provide ongoing scholarships for students.