The Funeral Service Foundation Announces More than 175 Academic and Professional Development  Scholarships in second half of 2023 

Funeral Industry News Funeral Industry Press Releases The Funeral Service Foundation February 15, 2024
Funeral Service Foundation Scholarships

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The Funeral Service Foundation Announces More than 175 Academic and Professional Development  Scholarships in second half of 2023 

The Foundation prepares to launch its Spring scholarship season on February 15 

Brookfield, Wis. – Looking forward to launching its spring scholarship season on February 15, 2024, the Funeral Service Foundation is proud to announce that it awarded more than $165,000 in summer and fall 2023 academic and professional development scholarships.  

In December, 23 students of funeral service earned academic scholarships ranging from $2,500 to  $5,000. Thirty-six professional development scholarships were awarded to funeral professionals and  funeral students to attend three major conferences across the country in summer and fall 2023.  Additionally, 119 students at four ABFSE-accredited institutions participated in Foundation-supported  NFDA Arranger raining Seminars.  


Each year, the Foundation awards academic scholarships to students excelling in coursework in funeral  service education programs at ABSFE- and Canadian-accredited institutions. Awarded in two cycles and  paid directly to institutions, the scholarships offset the costs associated with tuition, fees, books, and  supplies. Applications will be accepted again for the spring semester from February 15 – April 1, 2024.  

“We believe that a strong academic foundation is the hallmark of a strong career – whether it’s your first  calling or you have found it meaningfully later in your career,” said Foundation Chair Mark Krause. “By  creating opportunities for students of funeral service, the Foundation hopes to invest in the future of the  profession that has meant so much to all of us.” 

Academic Scholarship Fall Class of 2023: 

Foundation ’45 Scholarship | $5,000 

Kyrstal Cousins, Channel Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador (Canadian College of  Funeral Service, Winnipeg, Manitoba) 

Emilie Delcorde, Chelsea, Massachusetts (North Shore Community College, Danvers,  Massachusetts) 

Lauren Esdale, West Kelowna, British Columbia (Canadian College of Funeral Service, Winnipeg,  Manitoba) 

Alexandra Kaske, Mississauga, Ontario (Humber College, Toronto, Ontario) 

Kaleb LaCanne, Windom, Minnesota (Des Moines Area Community College, Ankeny, Iowa)

Isabella Rioux, Nashua, New Hampshire (North Shore Community College, Danvers,  Massachusetts) 

Madeline Rothrock, New Philadelphia, Ohio (Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science,  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) 

Heather Vandegejuchte, Ocala, Florida (Florida State College at Jacksonville, Jacksonville,  Florida) 

Bob Horn Scholarship | $2,500 

Zharia Herring, LaVergne, Tennessee (John Gupton College, Nashville, Tennessee) 

Dennis Schoepp Memorial Scholarship | $5,000 

Samantha Powers, Missoula, Montana (Arapahoe Community College, Littleton, Colorado) 

FDLIC Scholarship | $2,500 

Kyle Nipper, Alexandria, Virginia (Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service, Houston, Texas) 

Harry Pontone Memorial Scholarship | $2,500 

Parry Roy, Calgary, Alberta (Canadian College of Funeral Service, Winnipeg, Manitoba) 

Harry Pontone Memorial Scholarship | $2,500 

Hannah Thompson, Auburn Hills, Michigan (University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond,  Oklahoma) 

Jack Springer Memorial Scholarship | $2,500 

Kayla J. Carpenter, Dallas, Texas (Dallas Institute of Funeral Service, Dallas, Texas) 

John Carmon Scholarship | $2,500 

Victor Xiong, Antelope, California (American River College, Sacramento, California)  

Joseph E. Hagan Memorial Scholarship | $2,500 

Joao Pozzi Arcaro, Marquette, Michigan (SUNY Canton, Canton, New York) 

Louis & Josephine Pontone Memorial Scholarship | $2,500 

Payton Fleszar, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, Pittsburgh,  Pennsylvania) 

Mark Hornibrook Memorial Scholarship | $2,500 

Oscar Monroe, Satellite Beach, Florida (St. Petersburg College, St. Petersburg, Florida) 

Mark Hornibrook Memorial Scholarship | $2,500 

Noel Pratt, Glendale, Arizona (Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Chandler, Arizona) 

Memorial Classic Scholarship | $2,500 

Casandra Free, Regina, Saskatchewan (Canadian College of Funeral Service, Winnipeg,  Manitoba) 

Shipley Rose Buckner Memorial Scholarship | $2,500 

Makenzie Hawkes, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canadian College of Funeral Service, Winnipeg,  Manitoba)

Steve Lang Scholarship | $2,500.00 

Mary Katherine Setzer, Fuquay Varina, North Carolina (Fayetteville Technical Community  College, Fayetteville, North Carolina) 

Steve Mack Memorial Scholarship | $2,500.00 

Jim Shackleford, Salem, Massachusetts (North Shore Community College, Danvers,  Massachusetts) 

Passion and Gratitude 

“I am currently pursuing my dream of becoming an embalmer and hope to go into the field of ownership  one day. There were times when my dream of pursuing a higher education seemed impossible, but the  financial assistance you have provided me has helped me tremendously and kept me going. Because of  what you have done for me, I can follow my dream and graduate with my mortuary degree in 2024.” – Kayla J. Carpenter 

“This scholarship serves as a source of inspiration and motivation for me to continue striving for  excellence in my studies and contributing meaningfully to the funeral service profession. I am deeply  touched by the Foundation’s dedication to supporting aspiring individuals like myself who are passionate  about making a positive difference in the lives of others during times of grief and loss.” – Zharia D. Herring 

“Growing up I [have] yet to face a significant loss within my family, still, me and my father like to walk  through cemeteries when we spend time together. It is a place to reflect, it is a place demonstrating the  universal love and purpose of our lives. It is a reflection of humanity. Life is not easy, but having this  privileges to receive help through the Funeral Service Foundation’s generous scholarship, reaching my  goals becomes more accessible.” 

– Alexandra Kaske 

“Beyond the financial assistance, the impact of your donations goes even further. The Funeral Service  Foundation has been instrumental in providing invaluable resources and education for industry experts…  Your contributions have not only provided me with a scholarship but have also empowered me to pursue  a career that aligns with my professional aspiration and personal values.” 

– David “Kyle” Nipper 

“Thank you again for your generosity in making this scholarship possible. I will dedicate my education to  being able to help others through the process of grieving with integrity, and I will serve families with  pride and honor.” 

– Isabella Rioux 

View photos of all the academic scholarship winners: 


Professional development scholarships offered by the Foundation provided opportunities for funeral  professionals or students of funeral service to atend national events to further their careers to the next level, igniting their passions and purpose. Each scholarship covered registration fees, hotel stay, and  included a travel stipend.  


For the second consecutive year, the Foundation awarded 10 scholarships to funeral professionals and students of funeral service to attend the National Funeral Director & Mortician Annual Convention in Atlanta, Georgia from July 29 – August 2. Through the Foundation’s support, 20 professionals and students have now attended the NFD&MA Convention through the Foundation scholarship program. 

2023 National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association Convention Scholarship Recipients: 

Kayla J. Carpenter, West Gate Funeral Home, Natchez, Mississippi 

Alexis Collins, Joe Morris & Son Funeral Home, Pensacola, Florida 

Keonni Dimpson, Dallas Institute of Funeral Service, Dallas, Texas 

Kevon Gee, Restland Funeral Home, Dallas, Texas 

Rianna Knoll, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Rachel Leverett, Fayetteville Technical Community College, Fayetteville, North Carolina

Benjamin Robinson, Paradise Memorial Funeral Home, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Jaleesa Sturdivant, Cypress School, Cypress, California 

Jasmin Tuggles, Progressive Funeral Parlor, Chicago, Illinois 

Dillan Williams, TR Dallas Funeral and Cremation Services, Clearwater, Florida 


In addition to administering the inaugural Jack Spring Academic Scholarship Award with funding from the  Cremation Association of North America (CANA), the Foundation was honored to provide five scholarships for funeral professionals and students to attend the 105th CANA Cremation Innovation Convention in Washington, D.C., from August 9 – 11.  

2023 CANA Cremation Innovation Convention Scholarship Recipients: 

Suzanne Baumann, A Life Tribute Funeral Care, Largo, Florida 

Ashley Johnson, St. Petersburg College, Saint Petersburg, Florida 

Rachel Mackey, DeVol Funeral Home, Washington, D.C. 

Sam Waltermyer, The Cremation Center, Wauseon, Ohio 

Allyse Worland, Flanner Buchanan – Decatur, Indianapolis, Indiana


Closing out the 2023 convention season, the Foundation was honored to provide 21 scholarships to licensed funeral directors to atend the NFDA International Convention & Exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada from September 10 – 13.  

2023 National Funeral Directors Association International Convention & Exposition Scholarship Recipients:  

Krystle Balance, Cropo Funeral Chapel, Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada 

Christine Banks, Caldwell and Cowan, Covington, Georgia 

Kevin Byron, Carnes Funeral Home, Texas City, Texas 

Megan Fischer, Care Center Cremation & Burial, San Diego, California 

Katie George, Washburn McReavy Funeral Chapels, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Bridget Halfyard, Pierson’s Funeral Service, Calgary, Alberta, Canada 

Cyrise Hall, Forest Lawn Funeral Home and Cemetery, London, Ontario, Canada

Bryan Harper, Kiser Funeral Home, Cheraw, South Carolina 

Rachel Hauck, Harvey-Engelhardt Funeral & Cremation Services, Fort Myers, Florida

Gina Hooper, Cañada College, Redwood City, California 

Lindsay Huffman, Baue Cave Springs, St. Charles, Missouri 

Dominique Johnson, The House of Johnson Funeral Home, Detroit, Michigan

Ashley Kroll, A.H. Peters Funeral Home, Grosse Pointe Woods, Minnesota 

Sydney Laakso, Washburn-McReavy Funeral Chapels, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Jesse McElroy-Torquato, Perman Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., Pittsburgh,  Pennsylvania 

Jodie McGinley, Smith North Little Rock Funeral Home, Little Rock, Arkansas

Dawn Nelson, Zacherl Funeral Home, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin 

Anna Nesbit, Soxman Funeral Homes, Ltd., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Katie Schubel, Baue Funeral Home, St. Charles, Missouri 

Jess Wakefield, Keaton’s Mortuary, San Rafael, California 

Douglas Wilson, Pinecrest Funeral Home, Little Rock, Arkansas 


The Funeral Service Foundation awarded four ABFSE accredited institutions with NFDA Arranger Training Seminars in 2023 benefiting 119 students of funeral service. Offered virtually or in-person, the interactive program provides tools and resources to make the most of the arrangement conference. The schools that received  funding for Arranger Trainings in 2023 were:  

Jefferson State Community College, Birmingham, Alabama 

Mercer County Community College, Trenton, New Jersey 

Ogeechee Technical College, Statesboro, Georgia 

Tidewater Community College, Virginia Beach, Virginia


The Foundation will be opening three scholarship opportunities on February 15 for the spring. Please visit htps:// to learn more and apply for scholarships listed below. 


Dozens of academic scholarships are awarded annually in two application cycles. Scholarships range from  $2,500-$5,000 and are open to full-time or part-time students in good standing who are enrolled in  ABFSE- or Canadian-accredited institutions/programs. Candidates must be atending classes and actively  pursuing a degree in funeral service at the time of application. Academic scholarships are also available  for US and Canadian military veterans. 

Applications for Academic Scholarships open February 15 and close April 1 at 11:59 p.m. CT. All  applicants will be notified of their status by the end of April.  


Ten Funeral Service Foundation scholarships will be awarded for Certified Celebrant Training, hosted by  NFDA and offered in partnership with Insight Institute. Open to all those who are verifiably affiliated with  at least one funeral home and are interested in becoming a Certified Celebrant, the training will be held  at NFDA headquarters in Brookfield, Wisconsin from June 19-21, 2024.  

Applications for Certified Celebrant Training will open February 15 and close April 15 at 11:59 p.m. CT. All  applicants will be notified of their status by the end of April.  


The Funeral Service Foundation is proud to sponsor the NFDA National Emerging Leaders Program.  Created to atract, develop, and retain transformational leaders, this strategic early-career leadership  program is designed to give talented people the skills, tools, support, and opportunities they need to  succeed in their business, their community, state, and nationally. 

National Emerging Leaders Program participants will have the opportunity to be mentored and network  with other funeral service professionals and leaders outside of funeral service as they sharpen their  skills. 

Applications for the National Emerging Leaders Program will open February 15 and close April 15 at  11:59 p.m. CT. All applicants will be notified of their status by the end of April. 

About the Funeral Service Foundation – 

Since 1945, the Funeral Service Foundation has served as the philanthropic voice of the funeral  profession and has identified as the charitable arm of the National Funeral Directors Association since  1997. Donors and volunteer leaders profession-wide support the Foundation in its mission of litiing up  grieving communities by investing in people and programs that strengthen funeral service.