NFFF provides transformative 100% scholarship awards under newly restructured program

EMMITSBURG, Md. — At a time when all of us face so many challenges, we are proud to join our partners in helping ease the college and graduate school tuition burden for every one of our scholarship applicants, each of whom lost a parent firefighter to a line-of-duty death.

This group of applicants is the first to receive scholarship awards under the Foundation’s newly restructured scholarship program. Under the new program, developed in consultation with our scholarship partners, awards are now based on an assessment of a student’s financial need and academic performance.

The goal of the restructured scholarship program is to provide transformative, life-changing awards to students who demonstrate high levels of both financial need and academic performance. In furtherance of that goal, the Foundation was able to make scholarship awards that cover 100% of the tuition and book expense for 21 students, and 75% of the tuition and book expenses of another student, each of whom demonstrated pressing financial need and stellar academic performance. Forty-two other applicants also received meaningful support from the Foundation. In total, the Foundation was able to award $423,720 for the 2020-2021 academic year.

This award money comes from a generous donation by the Motorola Solutions Foundation, the Alan Patrick Sondej Memorial Scholarship Fund, and two private donors, in addition to partnerships with ICMA-RC and the Steel Family Charitable Foundation. Additionally, many individuals and businesses have long contributed to this fund. Please see below on how you can give.

The 64 recipients come from 23 states, and their parents served in wildland, career, volunteer, and military fire departments, representing every branch of the American fire service. Their studies range from public safety, social work, teaching and health care to careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. Thirty-six are first time awardees. Ten scholarship recipients lost a firefighter in the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

Since 1997, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s Sarbanes Scholarship Program has awarded $4,785,994 in scholarships. “We are very proud of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation scholarship program. We know it is ultimately the scholarship recipients’ hard work and dedication to their academic goals, combined with the continuing support of Motorola Solutions Foundation and our private donors and sponsorship partners, that make the program a success,” said Troy Markel, Chairman of the NFFF Board of Directors. “We humbly thank our scholarship donors and congratulate each of the recipients and cheer them on as they work toward accomplishing their goals and realizing their dreams.”


The Sarbanes Scholarship Program provides financial assistance to the relatives of fallen firefighters to make educational dreams a reality. Scholarships are awarded for undergraduate and graduate studies, vocational-technical training, and certification and job training programs in in-state or out-of-state public and private schools.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is dedicated to rebuilding the lives of families and co-workers affected by the death of a firefighter in the line-of-duty. The Foundation ensures your donation is used effectively in the program of your choice. Charity Navigator has recognized the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation as a Four-Star Charity for five years. In the spirit of accountability and transparency, we work with each donor and match them with the program that best fits their giving goals. We always want to assure donations are used to make tangible and impactful differences in the lives of our Fire Hero Families.

If you want to give back to the men and women serving your community, please visit

About the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation
United States Congress first created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation in 1992 to lead a nationwide effort to honor America’s fallen firefighters. Since then, the non-profit foundation has developed and expanded programs to fulfill that mandate. The organization’s mission is to honor and remember America’s fallen fire heroes and to provide resources to assist their families in rebuilding their lives and work within the fire service community to reduce firefighter deaths and injuries.

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