February 6, 2013

Pillars of Strength Scholarship Program for Volunteer Caregivers

The Yellow Ribbon Fund and The Blewitt Foundation are proud to offer the Pillars of Strength Scholarship Program to attend the University of Maryland University College – the first of its kind to accept applications from ALL volunteer caregivers of ALL injured service members.



When a service member is injured, a family member or close friend drops everything – leaving behind a home, job, or school – to be by their injured loved one’s side. During the recovery, which can take months or years, these unsung heroes serve as a volunteer caregiver. They provide emotional support, assist with tasks of daily living, and help manage appointments, medication, and paperwork. They are an injured service member’s pillar of strength.

Afterward, a volunteer caregiver’s resume has a years-long gap. And if the service member is disabled, the caregiver may now have new breadwinner responsibilities. Further education can help but may be financially out of reach. That’s especially true for non-spouse caregivers – such as parents, siblings, and close friends – who cannot access the educational assistance available to spouses.

From its very start, The Yellow Ribbon Fund has been a leader in focusing on the needs of the volunteer caregivers of our injured service members. From free rental cars and massages to hosting outings for mutual support, YRF has demonstrated that one of the best ways to support our injured troops is to support their volunteer caregivers.

In 2013, the Yellow Ribbon Fund expanded its trailblazing work on behalf of caregivers by launching a collaboration with the University of Maryland University College (UMUC), and The Blewitt Foundation, an organization with its own track record of serving those who have sacrificed on our behalf. Since The Blewitt Foundation’s beginning in 2005, it has held numerous events for our injured and their families and awarded partial scholarships to military service members through UMUC, which has also been serving military service members and their families around the world for 65 years.

Now, through the Pillars of Strength Scholarship Program, YRF and The Blewitt Foundation have joined together to provide full scholarships to selected caregivers to attend UMUC. This new scholarship program is unique in serving a very special group of people: the volunteer caregivers who put their lives on hold to care for our injured heroes. No other scholarship program makes itself available to ALL volunteer caregivers, including spouses, parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends, of all physically or psychologically injured service members, including those diagnosed with TBI and PTSD.

With the Pillars of Strength Scholarship Program, we gratefully pay tribute to the incredible family members and friends who serve our country by serving their military loved ones injured in the line of duty.


The application deadline for the 2014-2015 academic year is Tuesday, February 4, 2014. For information, contact YRF’s executive director, Mark Robbins, by email or at 240-223-1180.

Download the application.