REALTOR®, daughter appreciate REEF scholarship; April 1 application deadline looms

Misty Phelps

As the April deadlines for many Real Estate Educational Foundation (REEF) scholarships draw near, Peoria-area REALTOR® Misty Phelps is grateful that her managing broker mentioned the available scholarships more than a year ago.

Phelps’ daughter, Justyce Blankenship, submitted applications for several of the REEF scholarships and she ended up qualifying for the Morgan L. Fitch Scholarship for the 2016-17 school year at Northern Illinois University. (See a list of all REEF scholarships.)

“Sheryl Grider Whitehurst (my managing broker) is good at reminding us about the scholarships,” says Phelps, an associate broker at RE/MAX Traders Unlimited in Peoria. “She knows we’re self-employed, facing different challenges, including the ups and downs of the market. She knows scholarship funds would be appreciated.”

Since two of Grider Whitehurst’s own daughters were past scholarship recipients, she encourages others to apply for the scholarships, too. April 1 is the application deadline for six REEF scholarships, including the Fitch scholarship, while April 15 is the deadline for another. Four more scholarships have fall deadlines.

“Unfortunately, college expenses are not getting any cheaper,” says Grider Whitehurst. “Anything you can do to reduce the amount of debt your children graduate with is a good thing.”

Helping parents and students

Justyce Blankenship

“When I heard Justyce won a scholarship,” says Phelps, “I was thrilled. As a single parent, paying for my daughter’s education, it gave me a sense of peace to know that she won a scholarship. With tuition at more than $25,000 a year, plus rent, food and other expenses, any amount she earns certainly helps.”

The fact that the foundation offers scholarships is a wonderful benefit, says Phelps. Her daughter is a junior pursuing a Communications degree with hopes of becoming a disaster communications expert.

“I am beyond grateful to the Real Estate Educational Foundation for the generous scholarship that was granted to me,” Blankenship says. “With the help of this scholarship, I was able to focus less on how I was going to pay for my education this year and more on my school work. I am so thankful for their support.”

Scholarships with the April 1 application deadline include:

  • James M. Kinney Scholarship;
  • Richard “Dick” Wiegers Scholarship;
  • Academic Scholarships;
  • Thomas F. Seay Scholarship;
  • Morgan L. Fitch Scholarship; and the
  • George Patt Scholarship Fund.

For more information about REEF Scholarships click here.

April deadlines approaching for several REEF scholarships

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Illinois REALTORS® have about six weeks to prepare and submit their applications for numerous Real Estate Educational Foundation scholarships.

Six annual scholarships have an April 1 deadline:

  • James M. Kinney Scholarship, worth $1,000 for the 2017-18 school year;
  • Richard “Dick” Wiegers Scholarship, worth $1,000 for 2017-18;
  • Academic Scholarship, worth $1,000 for 2017-18;
  • Thomas F. Seay Scholarship, worth $2,000 for 2017-18;
  • Morgan L. Fitch Scholarship, worth $2,000 for 2017-18; and
  • George Patt Scholarship, worth $1,000 for 2017-18.

The Kinney Scholarship is a college scholarship open prospective students in any field of study at any accredited college or university. Applicants must be children or grandchildren of REALTORS®, REALTOR® Associates, Illinois REALTORS® members in good standing with a local, state or national association.

The Wiegers scholarship is for Illinois residents pursuing a college or university education in the field of Business, Law, Finance or a graduate program in Business.
The Academic scholarship is for college students attending any accredited college or the University of Illinois to pursue a real estate career.

The Seay scholarship is for applicants pursuing a career in real estate at any college or university in the United States.

The Fitch scholarship is for students attending the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the College of Commerce and Business Administration or the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The Patt scholarship is for United States military veterans who want to pursue a college degree in real estate or education in real estate administration.

April 15

The AIREE Grant, for real estate professionals who are continuing or expanding their knowledge of real estate instruction, has a $500 award and an application deadline of April 15.

For more information and applications, visit

REEF holds fundraiser to benefit scholarship efforts

The Illinois Real Estate Educational Foundation held a fundraiser Wednesday night in East Peoria to benefit the organization’s scholarship programs.

The event raised nearly $11,000.

For the last several years, REEF has held a “Fun-raiser” which lets Illinois REALTORS® try their hand at games of skill to win bottles of wine. The event takes place at the Public Policy Meetings held each January, and is one of the major fundraisers for the organization.

Since 2000, REEF has awarded more than a half million dollars in educational scholarships.

Watch for Illinois REALTOR® story about Kinney scholarships

Amanda Lading

Every year, the number of college students who have benefited from a James M. Kinney Scholarship goes up.  In the October issue of Illinois REALTOR®, find out how many and why the scholarship’s namesake – our 2015 IAR president – is so proud of what it’s accomplished, both individually and collectively.

Your Contributions Can Help Educate Future Recipients of the Kinney Scholarship,” is the title of the story.

As one scholarship recipient, Amanda Lading, puts it: “Winning a scholarship has taught me that nothing is earned without hard work and dedication. If you want something bad enough, and you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can achieve it.”

Lading, who is pursuing a degree in exercise science and a career in occupational therapy, has captured the spirit of what Kinney admires most in the students the scholarships benefit. Following her graduation from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, she will pursue a graduate degree to achieve her goal.

You can read the entire issue online or check your mailbox for the magazine.