Many communities in Michigan are struggling to retain college graduates and lose out on their talents toward economic growth and prosperity. In late 2013, when Randy Maiers was serving as the interim director of the Huron County Community Foundation, discussion began among the donors and constituents of the Huron County Community Foundation about what, if anything, could be done to attract young people back to the Thumb Region. The result was a simple brainstorm that might transform the world of traditional scholarships.

From the start the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, Huron County Community Foundation and Sanilac County Community Foundation have all worked together to address the talent drain and the Come Home program was born.

Traditional scholarships are awarded and paid on the “front end” of a student’s career. At that time, there are no guarantees the student will complete studies in their chosen field, graduate from college or return back to their communities to help contribute to growth and prosperity.

A “come home award” is essentially a talent retention program and pays graduates on the back-end of their college career, after they have completed a degree in a STEAM related field, but only if they agree to move to and work within St. Clair County. If you currently live in St. Clair County or are in the process of moving back you are not eligible.

We will accept Come Home Award applications year-round.

We anticipate this award will appeal to young college graduates in their late twenties, who still have some student debt, and are weighing the options for moving to a small town or returning home to start a family. This is an incentive program to get young adults to move here, so if you currently live in St. Clair County, or are in the process of moving back, you are not eligible to apply.

If you are interested in supporting this initiative, please contact Randy Maiers at or 810-984-4761.

Application Process

We are not currently accepting Come Home Award applications.

Process, Criteria & Governance

  1. Scholarship selections would be a competitive application process, much like the many existing scholarship programs already managed and administered by community foundations throughout America.
  2. Eligible applicants cannot already live within St. Clair County and would be limited to recent graduates with the following criteria:
    • Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math (STEAM) graduates
    • Graduated with an appropriate 2, 4 or graduate degree within the last 10 years and still has student debt
    • Applicants may not be already living within the county at the time the award decision is made
  3. Award Size: The awards will be up to $15,000 and will be paid out on a quarterly basis.
  4. Length of Stay: There is no mandatory length of stay. However, if an award recipient moves out of the county during the award program cycle, they would forfeit all future award monies not yet paid.
  5. Use of Funds: Award funds must be used to pay off student debt.
  6. Expectations: Award recipients will be expected to live and work in their communities in order to be eligible for this funding. They must secure a job or create their own business within 120 days of receiving the award. The specific terms and expectations, along with the process for monitoring and evaluating the program’s impact will be up to the entity that is managing the program. If you currently live in St. Clair County you are not eligible to apply.

Come Home Award Selection Committee

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