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Record Number of Scholarships Awarded to Chandler Unified Graduates

Haley Knutsen Memorial Scholarship Basha High recipient 2024
Chandler Education Foundation awarded a record 213 financial scholarships this month thanks to the unprecedented success of the Winner’s Choice Car or Cash Raffle Fundraiser  – and the field of exceptional applicants.  

Chandler, AZ – May 7, 2024 – The Chandler Education Foundation (CEF), a prominent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, this year awarded the highest number of student scholarships in the foundation’s history. With the unprecedented success of the Winner’s Choice Car or Cash Raffle Fundraiser and an exceptional pool of applicants, CEF has awarded a record-breaking 213 financial scholarships this year. 

The scholarships, totaling nearly $240,000, represent a significant investment in the educational pursuits of students graduating from Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) high schools. These scholarships include those established by generous donors through CEF, as well as the foundation’s esteemed IMPACT Chandler scholarship. 

Every year, individuals and organizations from across the valley contribute funds for specific scholarships, often created to honor or memorialize individuals. These scholarships come with unique eligibility criteria and are awarded to exceptional students whose backgrounds or career aspirations align with the scholarship's essence. One such scholarship is the Haley Knutsen Memorial Scholarship. 

“Back in 2005, when our daughter needed a third bone marrow transplant for leukemia, she was dropped from insurance.  The East valley community rose up and raised $190,000 to help her get a transplant. Unfortunately, the cancer returned, and we lost her.  We turned over the money that was raised to the Chandler Education Foundation and Positive Impact, an organization that helps kids who need bone marrow transplants and don’t have insurance.  As hard as it was to lose a child from cancer, the outpouring of support from complete strangers lifted us up, so to this day we pay forward the community kindness by awarding a scholarship to a student at each Chandler Unified School District high school, through the Chandler Education Foundation,” stated Chris Knutsen, who recently attended the Basha High Scholarship Celebration to personally congratulate his award recipient.  

In addition to donor-funded scholarships, CEF oversees the IMPACT Chandler Scholars (ICS) program, a longstanding initiative designed to cultivate student leadership and community engagement. To qualify as an IMPACT Chandler Scholar, seniors must have completed at least 100 hours of community service, maintained a 95% attendance rate, and have a 3.4 GPA or higher. This year, 199 seniors qualified for the ICS program, with 111 selected to receive the competitive IMPACT scholarship.  

Jen Hewitt, Executive Director of the Chandler Education Foundation, expressed her pride in the graduating class, stating, "Our 2024 IMPACT Scholars alone have contributed nearly 28,000 hours of service in and around Chandler. The tremendous participation in this year’s Car or Cash raffle fundraiser has enabled CEF to recognize a record number of these remarkable students with scholarships – easing the financial burden of further education while thanking them for their contributions to our community. Our heartfelt thanks to all the donors, sponsors, and supporters who enable CEF to pursue its mission of fueling access, innovation, and excellence within CUSD.” 

Chase Winkleman, a 2023 graduate of Chandler High School and past recipient of four CEF scholarships reflected on his journey, stating, "I'm sincerely grateful for the invaluable support that these scholarships provided for me. Beyond easing the financial strain of college and involving me in wonderful foundations, they have also allowed me to pursue my own entrepreneurship journey and start my own business without worrying about the stress of college finances." 

The Chandler Education Foundation relies on the continued support of the community to sustain its scholarship program. Individuals or organizations interested in establishing a new scholarship award or contributing to an existing one are encouraged to visit  


About the Chandler Education Foundation: 
The Chandler Education Foundation (CEF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1986. Its mission is to ignite the power of community fundraising to fuel access, innovation, and excellence within the Chandler Unified School District (CUSD). Through events, campaigns, and partnerships, CEF provides financial support to promote equitable access to learning and enrichment opportunities, stimulate classroom innovation, and ensure academic excellence for CUSD.  

Our Impact This Year

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  • Scholarships Awarded


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