Missouri Courage Scholarship is the first, and largest, state-wide LGBTQ scholarship organization in Missouri. We fund annual scholarships for graduating high school seniors in Missouri pursuing higher education. Our mission is to acknowledge, affirm, and reward students who demonstrate courage and take a stand for social justice.

We have awarded over $25,000 in scholarships in our two-year history. Missouri Courage Scholarship (MCS) is a federally-recognized 501c3 organization; all donations are tax-exempt.
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Take One! About Us

Click HERE or on the picture to get a printable and shareable flyer with a summary of our website information. It includes details about our scholarships, donation and corporate sponsor information. It also gives the links to our social media sites and emails of our Co-Chairs.

Our History

On July 13, 2015, two weeks after the Supreme Court handed down the marriage equality decision, The Salem News in Dent County Missouri reported that their County Commission voted unanimously to lower flags at government buildings once a month for the next year to protest, “the U.S. high court’s stamp of approval of what God speaks of as an abomination.” This Dent County action quickly gained national attention, and under strong pressure from the negative media, they rescinded the order just days later, though the damage was done and a message of hate was sent to LGBTQIA youth in that community and across the state.

In response, Jacob Wilson, a native of Dent County, started the Missouri Courage Scholarship for students who are helping improve their communities on behalf of LGBTQIA people and other marginalized groups. His positive reaction to such a negative message was noticed. Local, state, and national press ran with the story. On the third day after he decided to start the scholarship, Geneviève Steidtmann — a friend of a friend, and passionate gay rights activist — jumped in to help Jacob with all the attention his effort garnered.

Jacob set a goal to raise one thousand dollars for each month Dent County planned to lower their flag. With support from people as far away as Brazil, and many across the country from Missouri to Florida to New York to California, the Missouri Courage Scholarship was able to raise $12,000 in just 12 days!
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Soon it was clear to Jacob and Geneviève they were not alone in their passion to help LGBTQ kids, so they formalized the organization into the Missouri Courage Scholarship and registered as a non-profit in the state of Missouri.

MCS originally established two scholarships, a state-wide award, and a rural award. On September 2, 2015 MCS established a third scholarship: the Trans Courage Award. It is one of the first scholarships in the country to specifically focus on and support transgender and gender non-conforming students. See more about our scholarships and eligibility here.

After awarding scholarships in Spring 2016, we set a longer term vision for MCS. In January 2017, as part of the work to grow the organization we obtained our 501c3 tax exempt certification. And in August 2017 we launched our new Board of Directors.
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