Kenneth Jernigan Convention Scholarship

The Kenneth Jernigan Convention Scholarship provides funding support to members who want to attend a National Federation of the Blind National Convention for the first time.

The three biggest ticket items members need to cover when attending a convention are round-trip transportation, hotel reservations, and food. While we make every attempt to give as much as possible, this scholarship won’t pay all of the costs. Recent scholarships have been in the range of $400 to $500 per individual. Therefore, we recommend that you find an NFB member who can be your personal convention mentor. This should be someone who has been to many national conventions and is able to share money-saving tips with you, in addition to tips on navigating the extensive agenda.

Eligibility

Active NFB members, blind or sighted, who have not yet attended an NFB National Convention because of lack of funding are eligible to apply.

How to Apply

  1. Write a letter containing the following information:
    • Contact information: Include your full name and all of your telephone numbers (please label them). Include your mailing address and, if you have one, your email address.
    • Affiliate/chapter information: Include your state affiliate, state president, chapter, and chapter president, if you attend a chapter.
    • Mentor information: Include your personal convention mentor and provide that person’s phone number.
    • Funding request: Include your specific request and explain how much money you need from this fund to make this trip possible for you. We suggest you consult with other members to make a rough budget for yourself.
    • Body of letter: You should answer the following questions in your letter: How do you currently participate in the Federation? Why do you want to attend a national convention? What would you receive? What can you share or give? You can include in your letter to the committee any special circumstances you hope they will take into consideration.
  2. Contact your state president in person or by phone to request his or her help in obtaining funding. Be sure to tell the president when to expect your request letter and mention the deadline.
  3. Send your letter via email to your state president. He or she must add a president’s recommendation and then email both letters directly to the Kenneth Jernigan Convention Scholarship Fund Committee at kjscholarships@nfb.org. Your president must email the two letters no later than the deadline of April 15, 2019. 

Notification of Award

If you are chosen to receive this scholarship, you will receive a letter with convention details that should answer most of your questions. The committee makes every effort to notify winners by May 15, but you must do several things before that to be prepared to attend if you are chosen:

  • Make your own hotel reservation. If something prevents you from attending, you can cancel the reservation. (Yes, you may arrange for roommates of your own to reduce the cost.)
  • Register online for the entire convention, including the banquet, by May 31.
  • Find someone in your chapter or affiliate who has been to many conventions and can answer your questions as a friend and mentor.
  • If you do not hear from the committee by May 15, then you did not win a scholarship this year.

Receiving the Award

At the convention you will be given a debit card or credit card loaded with the amount of your award. The times and locations to pick up your card will be listed in the letter we send you. The committee is not able to provide funds before the convention, so work with your chapter and state affiliate to assist you by obtaining an agreement to advance funds if you win a scholarship, and to pay your treasury back after you receive your debit or credit card.

For additional information, please contact the chairman of the Kenneth Jernigan Convention Scholarship Fund Committee, Allen Harris, at kjscholarships@nfb.org or 410-659-9314, extension 2415.