Who We Are

Who We Are

The Bonner Scholars Program is a joint initiative of the Corolla and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation and the University of Richmond's Bonner Center for Civic Engagement. All three collaborate to fulfill the mission of increasing college access to undergraduate students through sustained, civic engagement. The following paragraphs provide an overview of each. 


The story of the Foundation is the story of Bertram and Corella Bonner and their desire to “give back to the Lord what the Lord has given [them].” Both Bertram and Corella Bonner’s personal journeys played a significant role in the development and direction of the Foundation.

In the words of Bertram Bonner, he was born “without a dime” in 1899 in Brooklyn, New York. At the early age of 22, after putting himself through college at night, Mr. Bonner was named Head Treasurer for Heda Green Banks. He had been working with Ms. Green since the beginning of his teenage years and had learned much from the eccentric and well-known woman. As Head Treasurer, he made many loans to New York builders, which inspired him to become involved in the real estate business. He was successful from the beginning but in the stock market crash of ’29, like so many others, he lost everything.

But, unlike others, with hard work and a tremendous acumen for business, Mr. Bonner quickly made back his fortune. His career spanned six decades and he built more than 30,000 homes and apartments.

Corella Bonner, like her husband, was born into poverty. However, she began her journey in the rural south – the town of Eagan, TN. At fourteen, after living in coal-mining towns in West Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky, Corella Allen, along with her mother, sought opportunity in the northern city of Detroit. Arriving penniless, the young Allen soon found work as a cashier at a cafeteria, attended Wayne State University at night, and made sure that her younger siblings went to school. She worked her way up from cashier to manager and was eventually transferred to the Statler chain’s New York hotel. It was there that she met Bertram Bonner whom she married in 1942.

The Bonners’ desire to be involved with community engagement efforts emanated from their early work providing food for destitute families in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where the Bonner family lived. When the Bonners moved in 1956 to Princeton, NJ they began a broad-based ecumenical crisis ministry program housed in the Nassau Presbyterian Church.  Mr. Bonner passed away in May of 1993. Mrs. Bonner carried on their legacy of hope, service, and gratitude until her passing in July of 2002.

Bonner Foundation Creation

Since it was activated in 1989, the Foundation has become one of the nation’s largest privately-funded service scholarship programs and a philanthropic leader in the anti-hunger movement. Through sustained partnerships with colleges and congregations, the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation seeks to improve the lives of individuals and communities by helping meet the basic needs of nutrition and educational opportunity.

The Foundation addresses its mission with two major programs: Bonner Scholars and Crisis Ministry. The Crisis Ministry Program concentrates its efforts in central New Jersey with support for 25 community-based and educational institutions combating poverty, especially in the area of hunger. Beginning at Berea College in the Fall of 1990, the Foundation began supporting a four-year, service-based college scholarship program. It has become a nationally recognized service scholarship model.

At twenty-seven colleges and universities, the Bonner Scholar Program provides scholarships to students who need financial assistance and who have a commitment to strengthening their communities through service. Seven of those institutions were awarded a $5 million endowment to carry out the Bonner Scholars Program. The University of Richmond is one of the endowed schools.

Bonner Foundation Funding

Since its inception, the Bonner Foundation has awarded more than $86 million in annual grants and another $85 million in Bonner Program Endowment awards to 20 participating colleges and universities (which have a current market value of more than $162 million).  The Foundation has lead a number of Federally-funded higher education consortium grants, including: a) four Learn & Serve America grants (three for community-based research and one for social media), b) three FIPSE grants (including one to establish civic engagement certificates, concentrations or minors), and c) more than ten years of national and State AmeriCorps grants (that support more than 1,000 members annually).


In 1990, the Bonner Foundation established the first BSP at Berea College. Designed to provide students with “access to education and an opportunity to serve,” the Program has grown to become the largest privately-funded, service-based college scholarship program in the country, supporting 1,600 active students on twenty-seven campuses in twelve states in the Southeast and Midwest.

The scholarship primarily serves students who have high financial need and a commitment to service. It is designed to heighten students’ overall education by affording these students an opportunity to participate in sustained community engagement during their four years of undergraduate education. The program helps the students develop the skills and knowledge necessary to make their service meaningful and lasting.

The pilot BSP began at Berea College in Kentucky during the 1990-91 academic year. In each of the next two years, the Foundation added eleven campuses. Two additional institutions were added in 1999, bringing the BSP to twenty-seven institutions. Once the operational framework was put in place at these schools, the Bonner Foundation then endowed the BSP at seven of these schools.

On each campus are full-time professional staff who direct and coordinate the BSP, which is integrated into campus-wide community engagement initiatives. These staff work with students to provide training and reflection opportunities, to ensure quality service placements, to serve as a liaison between the community organizations and the campus, and to prepare and support campus involvement in community endeavors.

Scholars are asked to commit ten hours each week to community engagement activities and 280 hours during two summers. It is this intensity of commitment — the four-year nature of the Program and the large number of students involved on each campus — that makes the Program both distinctive and transformative.

In 1997, the Bonner Foundation began an effort to expand the Bonner Scholars Program model of service-based scholarships by creating the Bonner Leaders Program. Through several grants, the Foundation partnered with institutions who were interested in expanding the Bonner Scholars Program or in creating a service-based scholarship program on their campus. Together, funds from federal work study (FWS), AmeriCorps education awards, AmeriCorps stipends, and individual institutions were used to create scholarship stipends for students who complete community service each week during their term of service.

Today, the Foundation currently works with more than sixty institutions that have created Bonner Leaders Programs. Each of these campuses has a core group of five-to-thirty students who commit to completing the required hours of community service during their term. The Bonner Foundation seeks to expand the Bonner Leaders Program on individual campuses and through local, state, or regional campus consortiums.

Having a large cadre of involved, informed, and energetic students on a campus allows for a large multiplier effect to occur. Bonner Scholars/Leaders have had an enormous impact on the culture of their institutions. For example, they have initiated service days and support groups, assisted in the founding of new soup kitchens, developed literacy programs, organized large alternative break trips, and served as board members of local non-profits.

Bonner Scholars/Leaders emerge from their college experience with a greater understanding of communities and the problems that exist within them, as well as the skills and commitment to be effective in community problem-solving efforts.  Not surprisingly, they remain involved in service no matter what path they pursue professionally.

Student Leadership Team

The Bonner Scholars Program Student Leadership Team (SLT) is composed of senior program associates and 6 class representatives (2 freshman, 2 sophomores, and 2 juniors).

Senior program associates plan and facilitate all BSP planning, serve as class advisors, and manage independent projects vital to our program. Class representatives liaise between their class, BSP staff, and new Bonners. They are also responsible for:

  • Planning cornerstones
  • Planning and co-facilitating class meetings (review curriculum)
  • Approving community fund applications (review process)
  • Planning 1-2 community building activities for their class per year

Each year, sophomore class representatives represent UR Bonners at an annual all Bonner conference. They receive important training, meet Bonners from other universities, and generate ideas to strengthen the program. 

Bonner Center for Civic Engagement (CCE)

The Bonner Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) grew out of the University’s long, rich history of community involvement. Prior to the creation of the CCE, the University connected to the community in a variety of ways, including:

  • The Bonner Scholars Program which provided scholarships to students involved in community service

  • The Chaplaincy’s Center for Faith and Service which coordinated specific service projects such as Habitat for Humanity house builds

  • Service-learning and other community-based learning courses such as those offered by the Jepson School of Leadership Studies

  • The many programs and courses offered to members of the community through the School of Professional and Continuing Studies

As the University entered the 21st century, however, the desire for a more intentional, integrated, cross-campus approach to community engagement grew. In August 2002 the Community Relations Task Force called for the creation of a center to coordinate campus-community engagement.

In 2003, Dr. Douglas A. Hicks, associate professor of leadership studies and religion, chaired a faculty committee charged with developing a plan for a center. This plan became reality when, with generous funding from the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation, the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement launched in August 2004 with Hicks serving as the founding director.

The CCE grew significantly in the ensuing years, expanding its network to engage many more students, faculty, and community partners in meaningful civic work and thoughtful dialogue about pressing social issues. The opening of the University of Richmond Downtown in 2009 at the corner of 7th and Broad streets is but one example of the many ways the CCE advances campus-community interactions.

The mission of the CCE is to transform student learning, deepen faculty engagement, and partner with community organizations for social change. The CCE does this by connecting UR and Richmond communities in collaborative and sustained partnerships. Through courses, research projects, volunteerism, fellowships, discussion series, and reflection, the CCE brings students, faculty, staff and community partners together to explore educationally meaningful approaches to community-identified needs. The CCE's collaborative work brings life to learning.




Experiential Education

Many of the Bonner Scholars Program’s (BSP) resources and trainings are rooted in experiential learning. This methodology assumes that all learning takes place in an active environment where the participants are active doers and not passive receptors. Through experiential learning, Bonners gain knowledge and understanding, explore their own attitudes, see their skills in action, learn from each other, and validate their learning through structured experiences.

In experiential learning, the experience takes place in the world beyond the classroom through a community service project or related activity. The service experiences should:

  • Meet real community needs

  • Be coordinated between the community and the BSP

  • Be integrated into intellectual and cognitive areas of growth and practice for each individual

  • Provide structured time for individuals to reflect (through thinking, talking, or writing)

  • Enhance what is taught (and learned) by extending the learning environment beyond what we usually consider to be its “normal” limits

  • Ask participants to apply experience and knowledge of present circumstances to current needs


Student Development Model

The BSP uses a student developmental model that seeks to identify, develop, and integrate service passions, career interests, and academic pursuits. Because the Program is a multi-year commitment, students are challenged and supported to grow and develop into active citizens. As a result, students become more involved and take on additional responsibilities and leadership roles as they advance. The student development model has five stages that referred to as the 5Es:

1. Expectation

Students apply and prepare for participation in the program.

2. Explore

First year students are involved in a variety of nonprofit organizations and activities including short-term community-based learning trips.

3. Experience

In their second semester, students focus on a particular issue within a single organization that enables them to grow in their understanding of its mission and the surrounding community. This approach also offers organizations consistent and reliable support to help run and manage their programs.

4. Example

By their second or third year, students are expected to take on expanded roles and responsibilities both on campus and in their communities. For many, this initiative translates into a variety of leadership positions. 

5. Expertise

Students are encouraged to integrate their academic pursuits and career interests with their service activities. As a result, some sociology majors become involved in research projects, English majors may write annual reports, and communications majors might assist with agencies’ public relations. Often, these projects happen during a student's third or fourth year of college. 

The 5Es framework is meant to provide a common challenge that can be applied in appropriate ways to every individual who participates, recognizing that students may enter into the Bonner Program at different stages of their college career and move through their development at different rates.  Because of students’ varying interests and rates of growth, Program staff on each campus spend time advising students through their tenure within the program.


The Common Commitments

After 10 years of developing Bonner Scholars/Leaders Programs nationally, the Bonner Foundation found it increasingly necessary to more clearly communicate its values, commitments, and vision to encourage students. The Common Commitments are the result of a year-long dialogue of members throughout the Bonner community—including students, faculty, administrators and community leaders. Six central values were defined through a collective process and include:

Civic Engagement

Participate intentionally as a citizen in the democratic process, actively engaging in public policy and direct service

International Perspective

Develop international understanding that enables Bonners to participate successfully in a global society

Social Justice

Advocate for fairness, impartiality, and equality while addressing systematic social and environmental issues

Community Building

Establish and sustain a vibrant community of place, personal relationships, and common interests


Respect and engage the many different dimensions of diversity in our public lives

Spiritual Exploration

Explore personal beliefs while respecting the spiritual practices of others


CCE Learning Outcomes

Over the course of several semesters, the CCE developed four learning outcomes to reflect the interests of our students. Bonner Scholars will interact with these learning outcomes in a variety ways (monthly meetings, reflections, etc.) throughout their time in the program. 

1. The CCE helps students understand the ways that difference, privilege, and power work in their own lives and in our society.  Through their experiences in CCE programs students will develop:

  1. Their understanding of their own identities and backgrounds.

  2. Their understandings of identities and backgrounds different from their own

  3. Their understanding of the systemic forces that have shaped and continue to shape our different life experiences.

  4. Attitudes of curiosity and openness about others.

  5. Their capacity for empathy, learning to relate to and appreciate people different from themselves.

2. The CCE broadens and deepens students’ thinking about complex and interconnected social issues affecting our world today. Through participation in CCE programs students will:

  1. Strengthen their abilities to analyze complicated social issues.

  2. Connect and apply knowledge (facts, theories, etc.) from their areas of academic study to their own civic engagement experiences.

  3. Connect and apply knowledge from their civic engagement experiences back to their areas of study, using these experiences to comprehend, analyze, and /or challenge theories and frameworks.

3. The CCE prepares students for active citizenship. Through participation in CCE programs, students will:

  1. Clarify their civic identity.

  2. Develop and expand their understanding of and capacity for active participation in a community.

  3. Experience the personal benefits of forming reciprocal relationships in one’s community, including joy, fulfillment, and well-being.

4. The CCE prepares students for lives of active learning. Through CCE programs, students will:

  1. Practice self-motivated learning.

  2. Develop and demonstrate communication skills across a variety of settings.

  3. Practice professional skills and gain professional experiences needed to work in a variety of settings.


Each class year has a curriculum that is unique and relevant to their level of engagement in BSP and in metro Richmond. Attendance at the components listed below is mandatory for fulfilling Program requirements.

During periods of class registration, it is important that Scholars be mindful of the days and times their community partners need volunteers. Class schedules should leave chunks of time for service. To facilitate this, Bonners participate in priority registration to register for classes early before their peers.

First Year Curriculum

Bonner 101

New Bonners participate in an orientation program during their first semester called Bonner 101. During this orientation, students build community among their peers, learn about the mission, goals, and principles of the BSP, and explore different service organizations in Richmond before applying to a three-and-a-half year internship at one organization. Students also serve at one organization for 1-2 semesters for three to four hours a week, on a temporary basis. Bonner 101 begins in the fall semester with a two-day, overnight experience typically held the first or second weekend of classes.

Bonner 102

During the first five weeks of the second semester, new Bonners participate in Bonner 102 to learn strategies that are intended to help them thrive as a new intern. They will also spend time learning about fulfilling their BSP requirements during the summer and while studying abroad. 

BSP Meetings

At BSP meetings, Bonners engage with local and national activists and leaders; reflect together about articles, literature, and artwork; and write reflections that facilitate meaning-making about service. 


One-on-ones are held each semester. Bonners meet with their Bonner advisor (freshman and sophomore meet with the coordinator and juniors and seniors meet with the director) to discuss service, academics, and career goals. One meeting per semester is mandatory, but students are welcome to schedule additional meetings as needed.

Cornerstone: First Year Trip (FYT)

First Year Trip is held in the spring following the conclusion of semester exams.  First year Scholars and Bonner staff go on a 3-5 day service excursion to Washington D.C.

Sophomore Curriculum

Justice and Civil Society (JCS)

Justice & Civil Society, taught by the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, is a required course for all sophomore Bonners during the spring semester wherein students explore contemporary society and understandings of justice. The course includes readings on civil society, theories of justice, and analysis of poverty and related socio-economic problems. Also included in the course is community-based learning with critical reflection on community service to populations in need. Sophomores participate in this course during spring semester to provide academic connections to their Bonner work. Certain components of this course may count towards Bonner hours.

BSP Meetings

At BSP meetings, Bonners engage with local and national activists and leaders; reflect together about articles, literature, and artwork; and write reflections that facilitate meaning-making about service. 


One-on-ones are held each semester. Bonners meet with their Bonner advisor (freshman and sophomore meet with the coordinator and juniors and seniors meet with the director) to discuss service, academics, and career goals. One meeting per semester is mandatory, but students are welcome to schedule additional meetings as needed.

Cornerstone: Bonner Exchange

The Bonner Exchange is a 1-2 day cornerstone activity in which UR Bonners build community and reflect on the nature of civic engagement with Bonners from other colleges and universities in Virginia. 

Junior Curriculum

BSP Meetings

At BSP meetings, Bonners engage with local and national activists and leaders; reflect together about articles, literature, and artwork; and write reflections that facilitate meaning-making about service. 


One-on-ones are held each semester. Bonners meet with their Bonner advisor (freshman and sophomore meet with the coordinator and juniors and seniors meet with the director) to discuss service, academics, and career goals. One meeting per semester is mandatory, but students are welcome to schedule additional meetings as needed.

Cornerstone: Junior Journey (JJ)

During Junior Journey, juniors explore social issues in Richmond to reflect on their membership as an active leader in the community.

Senior Curriculum

BSP Meetings

At BSP meetings, Bonners engage with local and national activists and leaders; reflect together about articles, literature, and artwork; and write reflections that facilitate meaning-making about service. 


One-on-ones are held each semester. Bonners meet with their Bonner advisor (freshman and sophomore meet with the coordinator and juniors and seniors meet with the director) to discuss service, academics, and career goals. One meeting per semester is mandatory, but students are welcome to schedule additional meetings as needed.

Cornerstone: Presentations of Learning (POLs)

Presentations of Learning (POLs) have been a Bonner Center for Civic Engagement tradition for years at the University of Richmond, providing engaged learners an opportunity to share the impact of community engagement on their learning, growth, and development. For Bonner Scholars, it is the senior cornerstone activity, much like First Year Trip, Sophomore Exchange, and Junior Journey are the freshman, sophomore, and junior cornerstones respectively.

Walk-On Curriculum

The first year curriculum lays a strong foundation for a holistic Scholar experience.  Therefore, as an incoming Bonner, Walk-On Scholars follow the first year curriculum regardless of their graduating year. Walk-on Scholars can exclude Justice & Civil Society from their curriculum if they so choose.

After completing Bonner 101 and Bonner 102, Walk-On Scholars follow the curriculum of their respective graduating class.



Community Partnerships

The CCE is committed to forming and sustaining long-term, reciprocal partnerships that provide transformative learning experiences for students, deepen faculty engagement, respond to community-identified needs, and have a positive impact on the region.

CCE partnerships are dynamic and continuously evolving; nevertheless, we seek to embrace a core set of shared values that guide our work.  These values include an emphasis on co-education, open communication, and reciprocity.

  • Co-education: In partnership, supervisors and Bonner Scholar staff work as co-educators, walking alongside students over their four years of engagement. Every experience is intended to challenge and deepen our students’ understanding of themselves and the community in which they engage.
  • Open communication: Supervisors and Bonner Scholar staff practice open communication by being transparent and easily accessible, both celebrating success and supporting one another when challenges arise.
  • Reciprocity: Together, we work to build partnerships in the community that are mutually beneficial by being a catalyst for social change and deepened learning.

Prohibited Activities

In accordance with Bonner Foundation guidelines, the following activities do not count towards the Bonner Scholar’s service requirement either during the school year or in the summer:

  • Service on behalf of a private, for-profit company or organization
  • Service on behalf of a partisan political organization or campaign
  • Pure, scientific research in a laboratory
  • ROTC or any other military service
  • Activities that support worship, evangelical, and proselytizing within church or para-church organizations. These activities include, but are not limited to, service that focuses on religious instruction, indoctrination, or conversion. Examples include providing childcare at church in support of a worship service, teaching in evangelical and proselytizing programs, participating in a worship service, and clerical and/or administrative work for the organization. Please note that service with a religious or para-religious organization for the purpose of providing direct community service (e.g., tutoring, mentoring, providing goods to those in need, community justice programs and crisis intervention) does qualify for Bonner service hours.


When you are off campus, please remember that you are representing the University of Richmond as well as yourself as an individual. Following the guidelines below will help you and our community partners to enjoy a productive, mutually beneficial relationship.

Ask for help when in doubt

Your site supervisor understands the issues at your site, and you are encouraged to approach him/her with problems or questions as they arise. He/She can assist you in determining the best way to respond to difficult or uncomfortable situations.

Be punctual and responsible

Although you are volunteering your time, you are participating in the organization as a reliable, trustworthy, and contributing member of the team. Both the administrators and the people whom you serve rely on your punctuality and commitment to completing your service hours/project throughout your partnership.

Call if you anticipate lateness or absence

Call the site supervisor if you are unable to go in or if you anticipate being late. Be mindful of your commitment – people are counting on you.

Show respect for the agencies for which you work

Placement within community programs is an educational opportunity and a privilege; not only are you serving the community but the community is helping you by investing valuable resources in your learning.

Respect the privacy and dignity of every person you encounter

Remember that people’s circumstances and views may be different from yours.  You can learn from others.  Respect their right to privacy. When talking about your volunteer experiences as part of a learning community, do not use people’s names.

Be appropriate

You are in a work situation and are expected to treat your supervisor and others with courtesy and kindness. Dress comfortably, neatly, and appropriately. Use formal names unless instructed otherwise.

Be flexible

The level or intensity of activity at a service site is not always predictable. Your flexibility to changing situations can assist the partnership in working smoothly and producing positive outcomes for everyone involved.


Do not transport any community partner clients without express permission from your site supervisor. Be aware that you—not the university—may be liable in the event of an accident.

Local service

Bonner Scholars complete 250 hours through local service and enrichment hours each academic year. Participation should be evenly distributed over the course of the year, so that service and enrichment hours are consistent and on-going, equating to about 10 hours a week. Bonners complete a minimum of 120 hours in the fall semester and 130 hours in the spring semester. The spring semester is one week longer, hence the 10 additional hours.


Eighty-percent of the 250 hours must be service at a nonprofit off-campus (except service performed within CCE offices). That equates to 200 hours total, or at least 8 out of the required 10 hours a week. In addition: 

  • Of those 8 hours of service, at least 6 need to be completed through an on-going internship with a community organization
  • You can count travel time to and from a community organization

(New Bonners do not have a permanent internship during their first semester in the program. These hours will be fulfilled through taking part in Bonner 101 and a 1-2 semester long temporary placement. See the First year curriculum above.)


Bonners make thoughtful and planned decisions to engage in enrichment activities that expand their understanding of social issues and populations with which they work or they are curious to learn more about. It’s an opportunity to go deeper or expose yourself to something new. You can participate in a maximum of 2 enrichment hours per week (or a maximum of 20% of your total hours per cycle).

On or off-campus enrichment that aligns with multiple BSP Common Commitments (civic engagement, international perspective, social justice, community building, diversity, and spiritual exploration) can be considered for enrichment hours. 

Examples of Bonner-sponsored enrichment include:

  • Monthly meetings
  • Class meetings
  • One-on-ones
  • Cornerstones
  • Bonner dinners
  • Cycle write-ups

Examples of student-driven enrichment include:

  • Lectures, Films, Forums, etc.
  • Conferences (up to 10 hours per conference)
  • Reflection (up to 1 hour per cycle)

What doesn’t count as enrichment? Examples include:

  • Classes / guest speakers in class / an event organized by your professor that you would not be attending if not in a particular class
  • Field trips with professors (unless it is a required event not organized by your professor)
  • Fundraising events that you are not organizing (i.e. Teeter for Tots, Greek philanthropies, profit shares)
  • Enrichment opportunities that do not align with multiple Common Commitments

Non-CLA Service

Beyond enrichment, students can also participate in their own, self-guided service opportunities. This is called non-CLA service, because it is service outside of an internship with a "Community Learning Agreement" (CLA).  

Enrichment and Non-CLA Service Approval

To submit student-driven enrichment opportunities or a non-CLA service opportunity for approval by BSP staff, students must complete the Non-CLA Hours Submission Form. Once approved, these events will be added to the Non-CLA calendar


Each semester is divided into three cycles that are about one month long. Cycles 1-3 occur in the fall semester and cycles 4-6 occur in the spring semester. At the end of each cycle, students are required to submit a variety requirements (community learning agreements, write-ups, surveys, etc.) in order to receive their stipend. See the Cycle Requirements page for a list of current requirements for each respective cycle. 

Summer Service

For each of two summers, Bonner Scholars complete a 280-hour internship (seven-week minimum) at the non-profit or NGO of their choice. Summer internships provide an opportunity for Scholars to more deeply engage the issues and populations with which they work during the academic year or new issues and populations outside of what or who they engage during the academic year.


Bonners must serve a minimum of 30 hours per week during the summer. Ideally, all 280 hours would be served at the same non-profit or NGO, so that students gain a deeper understanding of what working full-time for the same nonprofit is like. If circumstances prevent that, then Bonners can evenly divide their summer service between two organizations that engage the same social issues or populations.


Bonners can apply for up to $5,500 over the course of two summers to support summer internships. See the Funding section for more details. The two main sources of funding are the living stipend (paid prior to service) and the earnings stipend (paid upon completion of summer service).


Summer stipends are dispersed once the following conditions have been met:

Living Stipend

  • Attend the summer internship workshop
  • Submit signed summer internship agreement
  • Submit CLA via BWBRS

Earning Stipend

  • Log 280 hours of service via BWBRS
  • Submit a signed hour-log (student and site-supervisor) 
  • Complete the community partner evaluation

Frequently Asked Questions

For a list of frequently asked questions, see the “Summer Service FAQ” page.

Study Abroad Service

Bonner Scholars who study abroad during the fall or spring semesters and are encouraged to continue serving in their abroad community. Scholars also have the option of taking brief or extended leave. When a Bonner Scholar takes a brief leave (fewer than 2 months; serving at least 40 hours), the Financial Aid Office does not need to be notified as it does not affect their financial aid package. Bonner Scholars must inform BSP staff of their intention to take brief leave by the end of cycles 1 and/or 4, respectively.

Extended leave is longer than 2 months and requires that the Scholar serves no hours. When a Bonner Scholar takes an extended leave from the program (more than 2 months), the Financial Aid Office must be notified so that their financial aid package can be reduced. Bonner Scholars must inform BSP staff of their intention to take extended leave by the end of cycles 1 and/or 4, respectively.


Students studying abroad must complete at least 40 hours. Due to the variance in the start and end dates of international Universities, the Bonner studying abroad creates an individual, unique timeline that outlines when the CLA and hour logs are due.


Similar to domestic service, Bonners studying abroad can earn up to $1,250 per semester, dispersed in three payments of roughly $417 during the semester. See Funding section for more details.


When studying abroad, students must complete the following steps:

  1. Declare your active or inactive status by sending an email to the BSP coordinator at the beginning of your study abroad term
  2. If remaining active, the BSP coordinator will send you a study abroad service agreement.  This agreement must be submitted prior to serving
  3. Submit a completed CLA within the first month upon arrival at your host country
  4. At the end semester, submit a student and site supervisor signed hour logs via BWBRS
  5. Finally, complete a BSP study abroad survey

While abroad, the BSP administrative coordinator will be the point-of-contact for all Scholars. The administrative coordinator will assist with arranging service, conduct check-ins, and approve all hours.




In exchange for their work at nonprofits and/or government agencies, Bonner Scholars can earn a total of $15,500 if they meet all program requirements: 

  • $2,500 annual stipend ($10,000 total).
    • Disbursed in six payments of $417 per academic year.
  • $5,500 stipend for two 280-hour summer internships.
    • $1,000 living stipend paid at beginning of each internship.
    • $1,500 earnings stipend paid at end of each internship.
    • $500 paid to rising seniors for completing a third summer internship.
  • $2,000 upon graduation to repay student loans or fund future education.
  • Financial aid package that commits to meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need.

Mileage reimbursement & Community and Conference Fund

Up to $100 in mileage reimbursement is available per student annually to cover transportation costs to and from their respective service site. Travel reimbursements are distributed each April, once the student has submitted the 2017 Mileage Reimbursement form.  

Up to $300 in conference funding is available to support students attending conferences that focus on social issues and community development. Funding is limited and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Complete the Community and Conference Fund form.

Up to $1,000 in community funding is available to support students who implement a project at their service site in collaboration with their site supervisor. Funding is limited and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Complete the Community and Conference Fund form.


New Bonners are paired with upper classmen to help guide them through their first year as a new Bonner Scholar. The purpose of the BSP Mentor Fund is to give funding to support relationship building opportunities or excursions. The Bonner Mentor Fund supplies cash reimbursements. A maximum of $15.00 per Bonner Mentor pair is allotted for appropriate funding activities (i.e. coffee, ice cream) with the exception of the following: ATM Fees, parking tickets and personal items.


U.S. Citizens

See IRS Publication 929 for current information: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p929/ar02.html.

Non-U.S. Individuals

See the Controller’s webpage for current information: http://controller.richmond.edu/payroll/international/year-end/

During the academic year (fall and spring), money is withheld from cycle payments for students who do not have U.S. citizenship. During summer service, students who do not have U.S. citizenship will not have money taken out of their stipends if they are doing an internship outside of the U.S.

Per the IRS, for 2012 dependent students are required to file Federal Income Taxes if their total earned wages (this includes, but is not limited to, all Bonner earning and living stipends) is more than $5,950 or if their unearned income (i.e. interest or dividend income) is more than $950. See IRS Publication 929 for current information. It may be found here: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p929/ar02.html.

By law, all W-2's must be sent to individuals by January 31..  If a student has not yet received their W-2s they should first check at their permanent address (usually a student’s parents’ house) as that is where the form would be sent.  If it has not been received at their permanent address then they should contact the Payroll Office in Maryland Hall.


Bonner Scholars who are eligible for Federal Work Study (FWS) are able to use their Bonner hours as work study hours. They are paid work study money for doing the same service hours performed for Bonner requirements. If you’ve received an email from the Office of Financial Aid indicating that you qualify for this program, visit the How to . . . Log FWS Hours section on www.urbonner.com to get started.




GPA Requirements

Bonner Scholars are expected to earn a term 2.0 GPA and maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA. For those who do not, BSP staff will consult with college deans before deciding upon a course of action, which may include temporary leave from BSP. 


By default, Bonner Scholars should dress business casual for service. As professional staff at your service site, you are expected to present yourself in a businesslike manner.

Appropriate business casual dress typically includes slacks or khakis, dress shirt or blouse, open-collar or polo shirt, a dress or skirt at knee-length or below, knit shirt or sweater, and loafers or dress shoes that cover all or most of the foot. 

The following dress is not appropriate: athletic shorts, workout leggings, t-shirts, excessively form-fitting and/or revealing clothing.

In short, dress for success. There are always exceptions to the dress code. For instance, Bonners who work on urban farms will wear protective work clothes that will get dirty. Be sure to discuss the dress code with your site supervisor so you are in line with the culture of the organization. 


The Bonner Scholars Program provides financial support (financial aid, loan reductions, funding for cornerstones, etc.) and stipends for the hours of service and training/enrichment completed. As recipients of this support, Scholars are held to a professional standard of participation in the program. Therefore, students who do not meet hour requirements (academic year or summer), or engage in inappropriate or unethical behavior will participate in a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP).

A PIP is designed to give struggling Scholars the opportunity to succeed while also being held accountable for their behavior. Ideally, it is created when a CCE staff meets with a student, discusses why the plan is merited, and outlines clear expectations (actions, timelines, communication standards, etc.) for improvement. Written documentation of the meeting (or electronic communication, if attempts to set up a face-to-face meeting are not successful) is placed in the student’s electronic file and shared with pertinent CCE staffs who work with the Bonner Scholars Program.

At the end of the PIP (approximately 60 days), CCE staff members will make a determination regarding the Scholar’s standing within the program. Bonner Scholars who do not successfully complete the PIP may be subject to dismissal. Prior to dismissal, the Bonner Foundation is informed of the situation. The decision to dismiss a student is made in consultation with the Foundation. Students who are dismissed from the Program forfeit all remaining financial support (e.g., stipends, loan reduction, and financial aid).

During the timeframe outlined in the PIP, students may be required to meet with the Office of Financial Aid to better understand the financial implications of being dismissed from the Bonner Scholars Program.

Serving as a class representative and/or Bonner Congress representative is an honor. Students who receive a PIP may be asked to step down from their role. In this case, the Senior Program Associates would decide how to fill the vacant role. They may choose to hold a special election, ask the runner-up to step into the position, or appoint another Scholar after reaching consensus.


Egregious behavior in activities pertaining to the Bonner Scholars Program may warrant immediate dismissal with no Performance Improvement Plan. Prior to dismissal, the Bonner Foundation is informed of the situation. The decision to dismiss a student is made in consultation with the Foundation. Students facing dismissal will meet with Bonner staff(s)—written documentation of the meeting and the dismissal decision is placed in the student’s file. Students who are dismissed from the Program forfeit all remaining financial support (e.g., stipends, loan reduction, and financial aid).


Brief leave is meant to provide students the space to focus on priorities outside of the Bonner Scholars Program, such as traveling when studying abroad or managing a personal/family matter. For one semester, students may reduce their service to 40 hours total and remain in good standing. Scholars on leave still receive financial support—loan reduction and financial aid—and earn one stipend based on the 40 hours served. 

Grace Card

Over the course of the academic year (fall and spring semesters), students are expected to meet specific requirements in order to receive their stipends. While BSP staff holds the right to withhold stipends in light of not meeting requirements, the Grace Card allows students to see their lack of meeting Program expectations as a learning opportunity while maintaining needed funds.

Each fall semester, Bonner Scholars will receive one Grace Card for the academic year. In the event that students do not meet cycle requirements, the Grace Card can be submitted to deter the penalty of not receiving a cycle stipend. Grace Cards can only be applied to a maximum of one tardy requirement during the course of one cycle. Submitting multiple program requirements late will result in an automatic forfeiture of a stipend.

The Grace Card can be applied in the following instances: submitting a late Write-up, e-signing an hour log late, completing the CLA late, or missing a BSP meeting. The Grace Card cannot be applied in the following instances: submitting insufficient hours or missing a cornerstone activity.