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Michael Kiely Strong Roots Scholarship and Essay Contest

**The official deadline has been extended to May 1, 2016. NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS THROUGH EMAIL TO: **


A graduate of the University of Virginia and the University of Richmond law school, defense attorney Michael Kiely has devoted his career to serving and defending the citizens of the Richmond area. He has been practicing law in the community for over 13 years now, and he has developed a strong connection with the people and places of eastern Virginia.

It takes a unique type of individual to nurture a love of place and to put down strong, healthy roots within a community. In today’s world, there are so many opportunities to live a transient life, to move from place to place and never settle down. However, we all need to feel like part of a community, and so it falls upon certain special people and projects to build that sense of unity and place that we call “home.”

As day-to-day life becomes increasingly digital and experiences become increasingly “remote,” discussion about what it takes to build healthy communities becomes more and more important. Michael Kiely is proud to sponsor the Strong Roots Scholarship and Essay Contest as a way to promote discussion about the meaning of community in the digital age and as a way to sponsor educational opportunities for individuals who are dedicated to building strong communities where passions and careers can take root.

This essay contest and the associated $500 scholarship is open to individuals throughout the country who are enrolled in any accredited post-secondary institution during 2016-2017 school year.

Criteria for Eligibility and Selection

To be eligible for the Michael Kiely Strong Roots Scholarship, essay contestants must adhere to the following criteria:

  • All candidates must be currently enrolled (or planning to enroll) in an accredited post-secondary program, which includes: community colleges, private or public undergraduate colleges and universities, private or public graduate degree programs, law programs, and business programs. If the essay contest winner cannot provide evidence of enrollment at the time of scholarship disbursement, a new winner will be selected.
  • All candidates must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater.
  • All candidates must possess an interest in community building, as demonstrated by their essay and resumé.

Application Criteria

In order for a submission to be considered “complete,” all candidates must submit the following:

  • An updated resumé that includes academic, professional, and volunteer experiences with a focus on community building. Candidates can feel free to highlight relevant coursework or experiences that might not be included in a typical resumé. This document must, however, be limited to actual experiences (that is, “interests” do not count as experiences).
  • A 500-word essay that answers the following question:

How is the meaning of the word “community” changing in today’s world, and what does that mean for people who wish to build strong, healthy communities?

  • A current official academic transcript demonstrating that the candidate’s cumulative grade point average is 3.0 or greater. (Note: applicants who cannot provide an official transcript from their current institution may submit both an unofficial transcript from their current institution, as well as an official transcript from his or her last school.)
  • This cover sheet (link opens in PDF).

The winner of the Michael Kiely Strong Roots Scholarship will be announced later in the year.

Deadline and Submissions Information

Candidates must submit their FULL application (including the essay, resumé, and official transcript) by U.S. mail, email, or fax. The official deadline for this scholarship essay contest is May 1, 2016. All candidates should address their fax or mail submissions to:

Michael Kiely Strong Roots Scholarship
4124 East Parham Road
Suite 250
Richmond, VA 23228
Fax: 804-265-1451

If you have any questions or are ready to submit your application, please email