Scholarship Opportunity

CBAI Foundation for Community Banking

Better Banks is excited to announce a scholarship competition that enables Illinois high-school seniors to enter a statewide essay-writing contest. It is offered as part of a program sponsored by Illinois community banks and the CBAI Foundation for Community Banking to increase public awareness of locally owned banks and their contributions to the community.

Better Banks is a member of the Community Bankers Association of Illinois (CBAI) which formed the Foundation in 1996. A monetary award in the amount of $1,000 a year for up to four years of higher education will be awarded to the author of the best entry submitted to the CBAI Foundation by a participating Illinois high school senior. Up to 11 additional first-place $1,000 awards and 12 second place $500 awards are available in each of the regions of the state. An additional $500 will be awarded to the high school of the overall winner.

The bank is working with area High Schools to invite seniors to write one-paragraph on each of the three topics.

  • The impact/importance of community banking to me or someone I know
  • The impact/importance of community banking to a business or agricultural concern in my area
  • The impact/importance of community banking to my community in general

Length of the entry must be one-paragraph on each of the three topics, (not to exceed two pages in length and no more than three paragraphs); double-spaced, using Times New Roman font, and information on the contest is available at the bank and the school; entries must be submitted to the bank by February 24th. The bank will then submit selected entries to the CBAI Foundation to be eligible for the statewide competition.

All Better Banks locations will be available to provide tours of the branch and provide the opportunity to interview a bank officer as part of the research needed. Please feel free to contact our Marketing Department at 309.272.2784 or stop at any branch location to make arrangements.

 

Student Application   Background Information
 

  • Program Guidelines

    The CBAI Foundation for Community Banking provides monetary awards for top high-school seniors statewide. The total awards available this year by the Foundation is $21,000. These awards help deserving students highlight the importance of community banking to the local economy. You could win up to $4,000 for higher education, and your school is eligible to win $500! Judges will select the top entries statewide written by high-school seniors who best capture the three assigned topics.

    Judges will be looking for an understanding of what a community bank is and its role in the local economy. The entry should emphasize the philosophy of community banking, but MAKE NO REFERENCE TO A SPECIFIC BANK, BANKER, NOR CITY; ALSO, NO REFERENCE OF THE MOVIES: IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE OR FORREST GUMP.

    Competition: Competition is open to Illinois high-school seniors who are sponsored by a CBAI member bank; it is not based on financial need. Students must be U.S. citizens and residents of Illinois. Student bank employees, plus the immediate families of any bank’s employees, board members, and CBAI employees are ineligible. Students are asked to write one-paragraph on each of the three topics, (not to exceed two pages in length and no more than three paragraphs); double-spaced using the font Times New Roman with 10-12-point size. Do not submit your essay to more than one bank or you will be disqualified.

    Researching the Entry: Contestants will find that the most meaningful research about the subject will be gained from a tour of a local community bank and an interview with a bank officer.

    Entries: An original and two copies of the assignment, the Official Application, and the Background Information Forms are to be submitted to a designated high-school counselor, English teacher, or other designated person at the school (if applicable). If the local school is not involved, students should return these documents to the sponsoring bank. A special local committee will review all manuscripts and select the local contest winners, if applicable, and send as many as entries to the CBAI Foundation for the statewide competition as the bank is allowed.

    Entry Integrity: Entries must be written entirely by the student, without additional correction, grading or enhancement by any other party, including teachers and parents. Students may not collaborate with one another. Students may not view other students’ work prior to submission. Use of the Wikipedia definition of a community bank will result in points taken off. Violation of any of these rules will be cause for ineligibility of entry.

    Judging Criteria: Judges will use the following criteria to evaluate each entry: understanding of the community banking philosophy, accurate information, clear and concise sentences, logical organization, proper grammar, correct punctuation and spelling, and conclusion/summary.

    Deadline:  Entries must be received by the CBAI Foundation via the sponsoring bank by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, to be eligible for judging. Check with the local sponsoring bank for its preliminary judging deadline. Entries received by the CBAI Foundation after March 4 will not be accepted for judging. NOTE: Semi-finalists will be required to make a presentation of their submission to a community group of no fewer than five individuals; the purpose is to increase the understanding of our profession. Semi-finalists will also sign an Intent form indicating they intend to continue their education at a college, university, or accredited trade school. 

    Scholarship Amounts: Monetary awards will be given in addition to any other grants or awards the student   may receive and will be made directly to the winners. However, the winner must sign a statement that he/she will use the award to further his/her education. The monetary awards awarded for the overall winner will be $1,000 per year for up to four years of higher education, with up to 11 additional awards of $1,000 and up to 12 second-place awards of $500 each, depending on the quality of the entries. A check for $500 will be pre- sented to the overall winning student's school. Non-monetary “Honorable Mentions” may also be awarded.

  • Entry Assignment

    PLEASE WRITE ONE PARAGRAPH DEMONSTRATING EACH OF THE FOLLOWING

    (Length of the entry must be one-paragraph on each of the three topics, (not to exceed two pages in length and no more than three paragraphs); doubled spaced, using Times New Roman font, and 10-12-point size)

    • The impact/importance of community banking to me or someone I know
    • The impact/importance of community banking to a business or agricultural concern in my area
    • The impact/importance of community banking  to my community in general
  • Program Checklist

    MAKE SURE:

    • You complete the entry form and background information form 
    • You submit one-paragraph on each of the three topics, (not to exceed two pages in length and no more than three paragraphs); doubled spaced, using Times New Roman font, and 10-12-point size
    • The names of a specific bank, banker, and/or city, are NOT in your entry 
    • The entry must NOT reference the movies: It’s a Wonderful Life or Forrest Gump
    • Your name is NOT on the entry; Only on Student Application 
    • You send TWO copies of the entry 
    • Include your e-mail address and cell phone number (if applicable) 
    • Your submission should be made through a CBAI member bank You may not submit an entry to more than one bank or you will be disqualified

     

    ESSAYS MUST:

    • Be double-spaced 
    • Not exceed two pages in length and no more than three paragraphs 
    • Be in Times New Roman font 
    • Be in 10-12-point size 
    • Be sponsored by only one CBAI Member Bank

     

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact Bobbi Watson at 217/529-2265 or by e-mail bobbiw@cbai.com.