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Ben B. Cheney Student Athlete Scholarship Program

High School Scholarship History

Ben Cheney had a significant interest in supporting youth and youth athletics through his philanthropy. The Ben B. Cheney Foundation continues his legacy by awarding one scholar athlete from each of the 32 Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) affiliated high schools in Pierce County, and one from Ben’s hometown, South Bend, each year.

Since 1976, the Ben B. Cheney Foundation has awarded more than $1.5 million in college scholarships through this program.

This $3,000 scholarship recognizes student athletes with plans to further their education in a vocational and technical school, or a 2- or 4-year college in the United States following graduation. Scholarship funds will be paid directly to the school or college on the student’s behalf in August.

basketball team


The 2021 application period is now closed.

We realize that the circumstances in 2020 did not allow for high school athletics as usual. As such, we have adjusted our traditional criteria for 2021 to include participation in either a varsity or junior varsity WIAA sport during a student’s high school career.


To be eligible for this scholarship, students must:

  • Be a high school senior.
  • Graduate from an eligible WIAA affiliated high school.
    (See list below. Students attending iDEA, SAMi, or SOTA, please list the high school affiliated with your athletic participation in the first step on the application, and indicate your academic school in the following step.)
  • Have plans to attend a vocational and technical school, or a 2- or 4-year college in the United States in the fall following graduation.
  • Have a cumulative GPA that meets minimum college requirements.
  • Have participated on at least one varsity or junior varsity interscholastic high school sponsored WIAA athletic team at an eligible high school.
    (See lists below for eligible sports and schools.)
  • Exhibit high qualities of attainment in academics, leadership, character, citizenship, and motivation.
  • Be an American citizen.
  • Submit a compelling and complete application by March 15.


How to apply:

  1. The 2021 application period is now closed. When the 2022 application period opens, review the application. Make note of the responses requiring a longer written statement.
  2. Use a word processing tool to draft the written statement to be sure your response is thorough, compelling, and does not exceed the maximum word count allowed.
  3. Complete and submit your online application by the deadline. Incomplete applications, and applications received after midnight on the deadline date will not be reviewed.


Application review & selection:

School staff review all applications in April.

Selection committees from each school will choose one recipient and one alternate. Applications are scored on athletic participation, academics, leadership, character, citizenship, and motivation.

Scholarship recipients will be notified by email no later than April 30. Applicants will also receive a hard copy letter by mail, including a confirmation document to be signed and returned to the Foundation.

Scholarship checks will be mailed directly to the recipient’s school in early August.



  • Application period opens: January 31, 2021
  • Applications due: by midnight, March 15, 2021
  • School review & selection period: April
  • Recipient notification: Mid-May
  • Award checks mailed directly to recipient’s school: early August



Please see your school counselor for more information.

Qualifying WIAA athletic teams:

 Baseball  Basketball
 Bowling  Cross Country
 Football  Golf
 Gymnastics  Soccer
 Softball  Swim & Dive
 Tennis  Track & Field
 Volleyball  Wrestling


Qualifying schools:

Annie Wright Bellarmine
Bethel Bonney Lake
Cascade Christian Charles Wright
Chief Leschi Clover Park
Curtis Eatonville
Emerald Ridge Fife
Foss Franklin Pierce
Gig Harbor Graham-Kapowsin
Lakes Life Christian
Lincoln Mt. Tahoma
Orting Peninsula
Puyallup Rogers
Silas Spanaway
South Bend H.S. Steilacoom
Stadium Tacoma Baptist
Sumner White River