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2022 Scholarship Application for Organ Donation Advocates Now Open

Written by Zoe Engels, Blog Contributor

SODA’s $1000 scholarships for the 2022-3 academic year are open now through June 15th, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. Depending on your eligibility, you can apply to one or all three scholarships—the Student Advocacy Scholarship, HBCU Organ and Tissue Donation Advocacy Scholarship, and Laurie Smith Memorial Scholarship.


Each scholarship has its own requirements that applicants must meet, but some general eligibility requirements apply across scholarships. First and foremost, you must be a passionate organ donation advocate enrolled in a college or university for the 2022-3 academic year.

For more information about eligibility and how funds will be released, visit our scholarships page here.

Winners will attend a networking event in October and must host a SODA-approved organ donation advocacy event by the end of the Fall 2022 semester such as Pizza and Perspectives, a registration drive, guest speaker, or an original idea approved by SODA National.

Get some event inspiration here!

Student Advocacy Scholarship

Second Chance Fundraising is sponsoring five $1000 scholarships for those interested in saving lives through organ and tissue donation advocacy. Applicants will be asked to answer the question, “Why is it important for students to advocate for organ and tissue donation?”

"In working with college students, we are able to open dialogue to groups of students around the country who otherwise may not get the opportunity to learn about organ donation and the impact that they are able to make by registering," Craig Smith, the Executive Director of Second Chance Fundraising, shared via email. "We believe the passion that these student leaders use in their advocacy work should be rewarded."

Second Chance Fundraising is a nonprofit based in Johnstown, PA, with the goal of raising awareness for organ donation. It was created by Craig Smith and Derek Partsch in 2016, not long after Craig received a heart transplant in the fall of 2015. He is using his second chance to help others and encourage people to register as organ donors.

HBCU Organ and Tissue Donation Advocacy Scholarship

Hearts for Russ is sponsoring five $1000 scholarships for those who are enrolled at a Historically Black College or University for the 2022-3 school year. Students interested in advocacy, networking, outreach, and communication are encouraged to apply. Applicants will be asked to answer the questions, “Why is multicultural organ and tissue donation advocacy important? How would your experiences or education inform your organ and tissue donation advocacy event?”

“[The scholarship is] a wonderful way to earn some money toward your education and also build life-long skills through direct engagement involving an important cause,” Doug Houseman, President of Hearts for Russ, said via email. “Those involved in the organ donation space are truly wonderful people, including the amazing team at SODA. We hope those who are interested in making a difference, saving lives and building life skills will take the time to answer a few questions and apply for this scholarship.”

​Hearts for Russ was founded nine years ago after the tragic passing of Russ Houseman following a heart transplant at the age of 45.

“We created the non-profit as a way to keep my brother’s spirit alive and also raise funds to help make a difference and save lives by supporting the miracle of organ donation,” Doug Houseman said via email. “In our view, communication and advocacy are a critical component of the Hearts for Russ mission, and when SODA approached us to help them launch chapters at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, we wanted to support this initiative in any way we could.”

Laurie Smith Memorial Scholarship

Second Chance Fundraising is also sponsoring one $1000 scholarship for a student who is a transplant recipient. Applicants will be asked to answer the question, “How has your transplant changed your life?”

Craig explained, “The scholarship is named after my mom, Laurie Smith, who became a huge advocate for donation awareness after my transplant.” Laurie gave the gift of sight by donating her corneas after she passed last year.

Second Chance Fundraising is hopeful that these scholarships will help inspire and foster lifelong organ donation advocates.

“We are confident that these students will do great work on their campuses and in their community spreading the message of organ donation,” Craig said. “More broadly we are hopeful that their work will impact individuals in a meaningful way so that the idea of being an organ donor becomes the normal mindset for people around the country and we can begin to give the gift of life to more and more people. Sometimes being introduced to an idea is all that it takes to start a movement!”

Apply for our scholarships here!

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