Donald A. Strauss Foundation Scholarship

Estimated annual campus deadline: Mid-February

The Strauss Scholarship supports college students interested in public service, providing both a stipend to the student and funds to use toward expenses for a public service project. Almost any type of project can be proposed, from local to international, as long as the applicant can demonstrate how the funds will be used to benefit the common good.

Eligibility: Sophmores or Juniors with 1 or 2 full years before graduating; strong commitment to public service; GPA in the upper 1/3 of the class 

Award: $15,000 award for both project expenses ($8,000) and educational support ($7,000)

Campus nomination: required for all UCSB applicants.

UCSB campus application information

Class Level: 

  • Sophomore
  • Junior

Scholarship Deadline: 

February 7, 2024

Expanded Scholarship Details: 

The Strauss Scholarship Foundation supports college students interested in public service, providing funds to use toward the expenses for a yearlong public service project. The Foundation was created as a memorial to the late Don Strauss, who demonstrated a strong, lifelong commitment to public service and education. The Strauss Scholarship Foundation awards approximately fourteen $15,000 scholarships annually to college students pursuing a public service project.  $8,000 of this award is designated as a project grant to fund the student’s service project expenses, while up to $7,000 is designated as a scholarship to be applied to the student’s educational support.

The Strauss foundation seeks candidates who:

  • Have demonstrated an interest in public service.
  • Have outstanding leadership potential.
  • The desire to “make a difference” in local, regional, national or international communities.
  • Have developed and can demonstrate effective communication skills (written and oral).
  • Have innovative, original, public service proposals.

The Strauss Foundation will not accept applications directly from the students but rather requires participating universities to nominate candidates.  Students should send an email the Scholarships Coordinator at, indicating their interest in the scholarship.  The Scholarship Coordinator in the College of Letters and Science works with closely with UCSB undergraduates, regardless of their colleges, who apply for major scholarships, and it is important that students consult with the coordinator well before the campus application deadline.

Conditions of Eligibility:

  • A full-time student, with one or two full years remaining before graduating
  • Expecting that a significant part of his/her life will be devoted to public service as defined above
  • In the upper 1/3 of his/her class (cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher)

Application Procedures:

Campus Application Deadline: February 7, 2024

The following items should be sent as Word documents or PDFs to no later than the campus deadline above:

  • The Application Summary Form (from the Strauss website).
  • A one page résumé that includes current and past community service.
  • A one-page personal essay (not a restatement of the résumé).
  • A Project Proposal – Each applicant must submit a proposal (limited to 4 pages including Budget & Timeline, with 1.2 or greater line spacing) for a community or public service project that would be carried out between the end of this academic year and the spring of the senior year.  Sample proposals are available online at the Strauss Website.  It is strongly recommended that applicants consult with a faculty member in the preparation of their proposal.
  • At least two, but no more than three letters of recommendation from individuals who are well acquainted with your work (academic or service).   These can be from representatives of current academic institutions, employers, community representatives, or community or public services organizations. The recommenders should print letters on letterhead if available, sign their letters, and scan & E-mail their letters to our office at
  • A signed & scanned PDF copy of the Acceptance Agreement acknowledging the responsibilities of a Strauss Scholar (also available on the Strauss Website).
  • Transcripts from all colleges and universities you have ever attended, including UCSB. For UCSB transcripts, signed unofficial UCSB transcripts may be used if arranged with the scholarships coordinator. For non-UCSB transcripts, official hard copy transcripts must be mailed to the address below.

If hard copy transcripts are being sent, they should be mailed to the following address:

Attention: Scholarships Coordinator
Nick Alward-Saxon
1117 Cheadle Hall
Division of Undergraduate Education
College of Letters and Science
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-2085