About Our Scholarships

THE SOROPTIMIST INTERNATIONAL OF ANACORTES (SIA) SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM reflects our commitment to education and what is best for women and girls. Our goal is to promote the education of a wide range of worthy students, including continuing education and those re-entering the workforce in our community.

Scholarships cover various fields of study: education, health, music/arts/photography, math, science, engineering, vocational/technical, foreign language, marine technology, return-to-work, marine/environmental studies, and community college general studies. Each one-year scholarship has its own unique requirements such as educational status, high school student or graduate, gender, residency and financial need. Our focus is on women and some scholarships are for men.

The Scholarship Program is administered by a committee of club members. Each year the committee offers scholarships in fields that correspond to community need and seeks to identify individuals in our community who have demonstrated the potential to succeed in their educational goals. The Scholarship Committee manages and administers the Scholarship Program while maintaining the ethical standards of impartial judging. Non-SIA members judge each application and determine winner selection, according to established standards. Each year the committee reviews standards, the current relevance of each scholarship and makes adjustments as needed to reach the broadest range of applicants.

Scholarships are funded primarily by sales from the SIA Thrift Shop located at 3rd and “O” Avenue, Anacortes. Sales growth at the Thrift Shop has enabled the club to substantially increase the dollar amount and number of scholarships given over the years. In the last 20 years, the club has awarded approximately $854,000 in scholarships.

Many of the scholarships currently awarded are in honor of past contributions by charter club members and club presidents. Their vision impacted current SIA programs and Thrift Shop operations. Scholarships are also awarded in memoriam and funded by private donors.

Scholarships in honor of charter club members include:

Lottie McGovern STEM scholarship: Lottie was president of the club in 1956-57. She wrote the club’s early history and assisted in the start of our Home Health Loan Program.

Marie Hapeman POST-GRADUATE scholarship: Marie joined the club as a charter member in 1948 when there were only 23 members. She served as president in 1953-54. Marie and Doris Tursi proposed the idea of a Thrift Shop. Marie was also instrumental in the development of the Home Health Loan Program.

Thelma Marani HEALTH scholarship: Thelma also participated in starting the Home Health Loan Program by finding storage for the first few pieces of equipment at the Port of Anacortes where she worked. The medical equipment program has grown to the point that we serve hundreds of Anacortes residents each year.

Verna Munks ACADEMIC scholarship: Verna was president in 1977-78. She was a very enthusiastic and active member. Her family raised beef cattle at March Point.

Verna Wells MUSIC/ARTS scholarship: Verna served as president in 1965-66. She volunteered her music studio for brown-bag meetings, fashion shows and other club activities, and wrote the music for the SIA Grace, which is sung at the opening of every club meeting.

John Tursi TRADE/TECHNICAL scholarship: John and his wife Doris loaned the club money for the down payment on the original Thrift Shop. Long after it was repaid, John worked faithfully in the back room as a volunteer with a “twinkle in his eye” and a story to share. He was a pillar of Anacortes volunteerism who made many significant donations toward the betterment of our community.

Doris Tursi WOMEN IN TRANSITION scholarship: Doris and her husband John loaned the club money for the down payment on the original Thrift Shop and served as club president in 1962-63 and 1970-71. She was actively involved in SIA and in the community at large.

Scholarships made in memoriam include:

Alexis Gilman FOREIGN LANGUAGE scholarship is made in memory of Alexis Michelle Gilman. The scholarship is partially funded by her parents, Larry and Cheryl Gilman, current club member (2010-present).

Christine Munch MUSIC/ARTS/PHOTOGRAPHY scholarship is made in memory of Christine Munch, a club member (2013-18) and watercolor artist. The scholarship is funded by her spouse, Jim Munch, and friends who have generously donated in memory of their beloved friend and sister.

Susan Woolsey SPIRIT OF COMMUNITY scholarship honors Susan, who received the SIA “Woman of Distinction Award” in 1995. She was a tireless volunteer throughout the community and a voice of advocacy for community health and children’s services. The scholarship is funded by her daughter, Annette Woolsey, and other family friends.


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