Community Foundation Holland/Zeeland

Have questions?

Contact Stacy Timmerman, Director of Scholarships, at 616-994-8852 or via email.

Holland/Zeeland Promise Scholarship

What Makes the Holland/Zeeland Promise Unique?

  • It’s a last-dollar scholarship which means that after other grants and scholarships have been applied, we cover the remaining cost of tuition, books, room, and board. Our goal is for students to graduate debt free or as debt free as possible. 
  • Unlike many other scholarships, the Promise is renewable for additional undergraduate years, dependent on students remaining in good academic standing and making progress toward their degrees. 
  • The Promise offers a side-by-side approach, addressing not only financial needs, but also academic and socio-emotional needs.  We check in with students monthly to see how they are handling classes and life at school and connect them with campus resources. Extra support is provided through local partnerships: mental health counseling is available through Mosaic Counseling (formerly TCM Counseling) and career coaching is provided through Thompson MTEC.
  • The program encourages peer mentoring by bringing students together at an annual summer gathering.
  • To date the Promise boasts a 94 percent graduation rate in comparison to a national average graduation rate of 56 percent (National Student Clearinghouse).
  •  Many Promise graduates return to our community to live, work, and give back.
  • Many donors make a four-year pledge, their "promise" to see scholars all the way through to graduation.

We hope you will help send local scholars to college or technical school by becoming a donor today.




The Holland/Zeeland Promise began in 2010 as a dream to replicate the Kalamazoo Promise and allow our area's young people to graduate college or technical school without the burden of crushing student debt. 

Recognizing they did not have the kind of donor endowment which the Kalamazoo Promise enjoys, a group of business and community leaders came together to create the Holland/Zeeland Promise. Since its inception, the Promise has been housed at the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area where it has received administrative support. CFHZ is proud to be part of the Promise's success story and future growth. 

Promise candidates are nominated and recommended by their high school or Careerline Tech Center guidance counselors or staff at Hope College Trio's Upward Bound ProgramBoys and Girls Club of Greater Holland or Latin Americans United for Progress.

Selection is based on a range of factors including high financial need, the motivation to achieve the goal of a college or technical degree, and proven academic success.  In addition, most Promise recipients are the first in their families to go to college.

Since 2010, more than 100 individuals and businesses have supported 57 scholars as they have pursued degrees throughout Michigan. Most donors make a four-year pledge, their “promise,” which enables us to know that we can support a student all the way through school. Today’s average annual award size per student is $12,500.


Ten new Promise Scholars were chosen in 2020!

Current Promise Scholars

2020: Allisa, Alivia, Angel, Bruno, Esli, Esly, Gilma, Myriam, Nelson, Xitali

2019: Alexia, Alicia, Alyssa, Andy, Diana, Jaden, Jazmin, Katelyn, Isaac, and Truc

2018: Anna, Eliseo, Elizabeth, Graciela, Ivonne, Karen, Lesly, Lydia, Melissa, Nancy, Michael, and Taliah 

2017: Arely, Freddie, Marisol, Marita, Micah, Taylor K., and Taylor W.

2016: David, Eric, Julian, Kariana, Rodrigo, Srey, and Tanya

2015: Diana, Edgar, and Nhi 


Congratulations to the Promise's most recent graduates, Jennifer and Michael! After graduation Jennifer began her marketing career at Katie L. Smith & Company in downtown Holland and Michael began serving as Special Assistant to Michigan's Senate Minority Leader.

Jennifer and Michael join Promise graduates: Allison, Andrew, Courtney, Cynthia, Dave, Diana, Laura, Lily,  Priscilla, Rogelio,  Teohary, Yadah, and Yessica.


Special thanks to our anonymous $100,000 donor and Herman Miller Cares for matching grant support!

We are pleased that most donors commit for four years and recommit so the program can include an ever-increasing numbers of scholars.

The dream of offering scholarships to motivated students, many the first in their families to attend college, could not happen without the support of our Promise donors:

Dr. John and Monica Arendshort

Dr. Thomas and Rev. Sharon Arendshorst

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bakker

Chris Bart

John Bartles

Dr. Dan and Kate Bolt

John and Nancy Bolt

Tom Bos

Judson and Catherine Bradford

Jim and Donna Brooks

Leslie Brown

Catherine Clements

Christopher and Lorna Cook

DeNooyer Chevrolet

DeNooyer Chevrolet Employees

Robert DeNooyer II and Colette Volkema DeNooyer

Robert J. DeNooyer Sr.

Dominique and Julie DeNooyer

Nicole DeNooyer and Chris Taylor

Chris and Barb DePree

Marvin and Jerene DeWitt

Herb and Pat Eldean

Jeff Elhart

Jacob Essenburg

David and Nancy Field

Fifth Third Bank through the Fifth Third Bank Minority Scholarship Fund 

Dan and Mary George

Global Concepts Enterprises, Inc.

Marianne Hageman

Craig and Karen Hall

Richard G. and Ethie Haworth

Don and Jodi Heeringa

Tim and Anne Hemingway

Herman Miller through Herman Miller Cares

Dr. Bill and Dr. Maria Hoekstra

Huizenga Foundation

Patrick and Jasmine Irish

Patrick and Jeanne Kellner

Phil and Lil Koning

Koop and Burr Insurance

Dan and Jan Koster

Pat Leblanc

Richard and Marcia Lievense

Jim and Sarah Lily

Sam and Jean Martin

Bruce and Carla Masselink

Sandra McParlan

Phillip and Dr. Nancy Miller

Tim Moore

Haans and Anita Mulder

Larry and Karen Mulder

Richard and Susan Muzzy

Doug and Nancy Padnos

Holly D. Palmer

Perkins Malo Hunter Foundation

Kathleen Ponitz

Scott and Gina Prince

Rey and Kelli Rivera

Melanie Scholten

Paul and Kathy Schoolmeester

Mary Schregardus

David and Katie Shellenbarger

Dick and Nancy Shepard

Stephen and Laurie Sisson

Smith Gas Liquids Company

Craig and Wendy Spoelhoef

Scott and Jan Spoelhoef

Mike and Ann Staed

Charlie Sterken

Robert and Deborah Sterken

Dr. Jim and Dolly Strikwerda

Jim and Carol Stroop

William and Nancy Sturgeon

Linda and Dave Thompson

Rolfe and Stacy Timmerman

Ross and Shelly Vande Wege

Anna M. VanderWoude

Varnum LLP/ Attorneys at Law

Hank and Cora Visscher

Michael and Valerie Volkema

Jan and Carol Wagner

Brian and Colleen Walker

Susan and Joel Wolfe

Steve and Erin Zylman

In the News

MSU grad praises TRIO Upward Bound, Promise Scholarship for success in college and beyond, Rapid Growth Media, September 03, 2020

U-M is next stop for Promise Scholar with a passion for the environment, Rapid Growth Media, August 25, 2020

Community Foundation announces 2020 Promise Scholars, Holland Sentinel, July 25, 2020

Holland/Zeeland Promise Scholarship Helps Kids Attend College Debt-freeFox 17 Morning Mix, August 15, 2019

Holland, Zeeland Leaders Rally to Support Promise Scholarship Program, MiBiz, September 15, 2018 

Holland/Zeeland Community Foundation to 'Grow the Promise' Scholarship, Holland Sentinel, September 14, 2018

Proud Panther, Holland Sentinel, May 31, 2018. Michael is a 2018 Promise Scholar!

Holland-area Nonprofits Host Events, Campaigns for #GivingTuesday, Holland Sentinel, November 28, 2017

Meet Destination Education's New College Advisers, Holland Sentinel, August 20, 2017. Yadah became a Promise Scholar in 2013,  graduated from the University of Michigan in 2017 and has returned to work at Holland High School.

Beating the Odds: Holland High Seniors Excel to be First-Generation College Students, Holland Sentinel, April 20, 2017. Freddie and Marita became Promise Scholars in 2017.

Herman Miller Gives to Promise Scholarship, Holland Sentinel, March 22, 2017

Holland/Zeeland Promise Scholarships Show Promise, Holland Sentinel, August 30, 2012

The Holland/Zeeland Promise Helps Disadvantaged, Dedicated Students, Holland Sentinel, September 7, 2011

Three Holland Seniors Get First 'Promise' Scholarships, The Grand Rapids Press, June 8, 2010

Application Process

Promise candidates are nominated by their high school or Careerline Tech Center counselors or staff at Hope College Trio's Upward Bound Program, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holland or Latin Americans United for Progress.

Nominated candidates are contacted by the Foundation's Director of Scholarships and given instructions regarding the application and selection process.

Selection is rigorous and based on a range of factors. High financial need, the motivation to achieve the goal of a college or technical degree and strong recommendations are priorities. In addition, most Promise recipients are the first in their families to go to college.

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85 East 8th Street, Suite 110, Holland, MI 49423   (616) 396-6590   Email us