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About the Program


The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program is dedicated to supporting and serving graduating high school seniors and other adults who live in subsidized housing in Montgomery County, Maryland  as they pursue college or workforce development training.

Who We Are

The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that helps students achieve their dream of earning a college degree or securing the workforce development training they need to jump-start a career. 


Since 1995, we have supported a specific group of deserving Montgomery County, Maryland students: graduating high school seniors and adults who live in subsidized housing. Most face financial barriers to post-secondary education and are first-generation college students. 


We provide Bernie Scholarship recipients with financial assistance, or  “gap funds,” to help cover the costs of their education. Scholarships can be used for education-related expenses, such as tuition and fees, books, childcare, transportation, or computer equipment. Bernie Scholars may receive funding for as many years as it takes for them to complete a degree or certification program. 


The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program helps transform the lives of students and their families, which ultimately strengthens our local community. Despite navigating financial and personal challenges while pursuing their educational and career goals, Bernie Scholarship recipients are resilient and determined to succeed. 


The inspiration for the Bernie Scholarship Awards Program dates back to 1995, when Bernie Tetreault retired from his role as Executive Director of the Housing Opportunities Commission in Montgomery County, Maryland. Bernie, who led the public housing agency for 24 years, wanted to give back to the community he had served for so long. 


With the help of four friends —  Jim Brodsky, the late Rev. Lon Dring, the late Barbara Heyman, and Joyce Siegel — Bernie established a scholarship fund that was named in his honor. The Bernie Education Fund, the precursor to the Bernie Scholarship Awards Program, was born. The program is now a 501(c)(3) component fund of the Greater Washington Community Foundation. 


Four students were selected to be in the inaugural class of Bernie Scholars. Since then, the number of scholarships we provide annually has grown exponentially. In recent years, we have awarded at least 50 scholarships during each award cycle. 


Founder Bernie Tetreault (left) and Jim Brodsky (middle) receiving, on behalf of the Bernie Scholarship Awards Program, a Montgomery County Proclamation

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