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The Annie Ervin Willis Scholarship fund provides financial support to African-American students who are committed to community service as evidenced by active and consistent involvement with service organizations working to improve their communities.

History of the Fund

Annie Ervin Willis was a devoted mother, grandmother, sister, and friend to many. She lived an intensely full life. Her ability to expand and grow in self-awareness inspired all. A woman of purpose and conviction, she valued family, faith, service, and education.

Family: As a mother of five, Ann focused on providing a rich life for her children. She surrounded them with cultural experiences, academics, music, and a strong belief in human rights. Instilling the value of education in each of them, all five graduated from college and earned advanced degrees.

Faith: Ann’s commitment to faith and service was exhibited by years of service to Centenary United Methodist Church located in South Memphis. There she exercised her faith by serving on countless committees and holding several leadership positions within the church. Additionally, the McKendree District of the United Methodist Church established the “Ann Willis United Methodist Women Award” to be given annually to a member of the United Methodist Church for faithful and exemplary service to the Church.

Service: Active in her community, Ann worked for and served several organizations in her community including numerous social justice, academic, fine arts, humanitarian, social service, and philanthropic organizations. She was committed to service and social justice. Throughout her life, she received several awards in recognition of her service and commitment.

Education: Ann attended Talladega College in Alabama and later transferred to Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, where she earned a B.S. in Business Administration. Throughout her life, Ann continued to seek knowledge and was an avid reader and traveler which bolstered her knowledge and understanding of the world.

Because Ann adamantly stressed the importance of education to her family, they created a scholarship fund in her honor for her 75th birthday.

The Annie Ervin Willis Scholarship will be awarded to a graduating senior that lives or attends school or church in the 38106, 38114, 38126, or 38127 zip codes, where Ann lived, worked and attended church.

Eligibility Requirements

All applicants must:

  •  be graduating high school seniors;
  • reside, attend a place of worship, or attend school in the 38106, 38114, 38126, or 38127 zip codes;
  • have a minimum 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale;
  • be involved in the community through volunteer activities with a nonprofit or other community group;
  • be accepted by and plan to attend an accredited four-year college or university;
  • demonstrate financial need; and
  • submit the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis scholarship application form and required attachments.

A complete application includes:

  • completed Community Foundation of Greater Memphis scholarship application form;
  • one-page personal statement outlining education or career goals;
  • two current letters of recommendation, including one from a nonprofit or community group where the student has a history of volunteer work;
  • most recent high school transcript;
  • copy of your ACT and/or SAT scores; and a
  • copy of your Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) Student Aid Report (SAR) and Expected Family Contribution (EFC) information, OR your College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile.

This scholarship may be awarded to more than one student each year. 

Your application and all related attachments must be received in the offices of the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis by 4:00 p.m. on April 3, 2017.

This scholarship is awarded to one student each year. The scholarship award amount will be $1,000.