History & Mission


Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund honors the name and legacy of an American woman of incredible spirit and determination by providing much needed aid to women with the same attributes. Jeannette Rankin was a proponent of women's rights and was the first woman to be elected to the United States Congress in 1916.

Upon her death, Rankin left a portion of her Georgia estate to assist "mature, unemployed women workers." Rankin's personal assistant, Reita Rivers, along with friends Sue Bailey, Gail Dendy, Margaret Holt, and Heather Kleiner, established a foundation to help adult women who face difficulties returning to school. The $16,000 from Rankin's estate was the seed money for Jeannette Rankin Foundation, which has been helping mature, low-income women succeed through education since it was chartered in 1976.

In 1978, the Jeannette Rankin Foundation awarded one scholarship in the amount of $500. Since that time, JRF has awarded more than $2.5 million in scholarships to 1,000 women.

In 2008, Jeannette Rankin Foundation registered the name Jeanette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund to better reflect the organization's mission.


Jeannette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund provides scholarships and support for low-income women 35 and older across the U.S. to build better lives through college completion.

Nondiscrimination policy

It is the policy of Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund to make financial awards without regard to race, creed, religion, color, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, national origin, or disability.

Download our Media Kit!