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Bonner Program Management - Goals, Framework and Rules

Page history last edited by Robert Hackett 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Front Page / Bonner Program Resources / Bonner Program Management / Goals, Framework and Rules


Bonner Program Management

Start-Up | Staffing | Student Leadership | Recruitment & Selection | Tracking & Accountability | Reporting & Funding








Looking Back and Looking Forward: Twenty-Five Years of Shared Partnerships

In this Engage article by Bonner Foundation President, Bobby Hackett, he describes the progression, as well as the future vision, of the Bonner Network in regards to student development, community partnerships, and campus infrastructure since the establishment of the first Bonner Program at Berea College in 1990.



The motto "Access to Education, Opportunity to Serve" distills the overarching goal of the Bonner Program.  Since 1990, a diverse, multi-state consortium of participating colleges and universities have been joined through a common commitment to the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation’s mission to “transform students, communities, and campuses through service.” The Bonner Program is designed to transform not only the students who are directly supported by the program, but also the campus and community in which they serve and learn. The goals of the Bonner Program are identified in four areas: student development, community involvement, campus engagement, and higher education.


For the Student:
  • To provide access to a college education for students with high financial need.
  • To afford students the opportunity to enhance and use their abilities, talents, and leadership to serve others while in college.
  • To create a supportive community of students on campus whose common focus on community service gives them a sense of purpose and meaning.

For the Community:
  • To channel the energies of college students, faculty, and staff to continue to improve and expand upon the quality and nature of services offered to the community.
  • To break down the barriers between "town and gown", leading to improved communication and greater collaboration between the two.

For the Campus:
  • To help recruit and retain a diverse group of students who might not otherwise be able to attend college.
  • To challenge and support the college to create a culture of service where the stated mission of service is translated in such a way that every student, faculty and staff member is encouraged to serve.
  • To support a core group of student leaders eager to build and strengthen the organizations on campus that promote a culture of service.
  • To support a core group of faculty members and professional staff who link the work of community engagement to the life of the college, in both curricular and co-curricular ways. 

For Higher Education:
  • To serve as a successful model to other colleges and universities which are interested in starting their own community service scholarship program.
  • To serve as a successful model for catalyzing and sustaining community engaged and public scholarship, by both students and faculty, in ways that build the capacity of communities. 
  • To form a consortium of diverse higher education institutions which share a common commitment to service.
  • To provide leadership to a nation searching for ways to value and include young people in meaningful acts of citizenship.


We seek to leverage the Bonner Program to achieve a series of linked transformation goals related to student, campus, and community impact.  These goals begin with individuals and places and then extend outwards to programs, organizations, and whole systems.  



The Bonner Program's work centers around six common commitments that define and focus the program's community engagement and student development goals.



With all of our work, we make a concerted effort to integrate our program development around the reinforcing goals of student development, community partnerships, and campus infrastructure.  You'll see this in all of the Bonner Program resources.  For instance, we link student leadership roles with personal development through training and reflection, the kinds of developmentally appropriate and challenging service placements and projects made available, and the ways in which the program and campus-wide centers are managed.



Core Expectations for All Bonner Programs

We have defined the core expectations for every Bonner Program.  These hold true for endowed Bonner Scholar Programs and unendowed Bonner Leader Programs.  They represent the best practices in the program that we have made common across all campuses with Bonner Programs.  


Basic Expectations

The Bonner Foundation has three basic expectations for schools participating in the Bonner Program:

  1. Recruit a group of at least 20 students to be Bonners (note some schools have up to 100 active Bonners, while most have between 40 to 80);
  2. Engage the Bonners in an intensive (8-10 hours per week) service program over four years while providing them with a Federal Work-Study or equivalent stipend;
  3. Attend our national Bonner meetings:  
    • Fall Directors'/Coordinators' Meeting (held at a conference center)
    • Fall Student Congress Meeting (hosted by a different campus in Bonner Network each year)
    • Summer Leadership Institute (hosted by a different campus in Bonner Network each year)
    • New Directors' and Coordinators' Orientation (always in Princeton, New Jersey) 


Detailed Expectations

Below we provide a more detailed list of programmatic and operational expectations:


Financial Support to Bonner Leaders

    • Enroll at least 20 students for whom the institution will provide a stipend equal to a typical work-study award or a service-based scholarship award of at least $5,000 for each student's service during each school year;
    • Bonner Leader schools are strongly encouraged (but not required) to provide additional financial support to each student for:
      • up to $2,500 for one summer service internship;
      • first-year service trip;
      • second-year service exchange.


Staffing & Infrastructure

    • Assign a staff person to manage the Bonner Program and be the point of contact for Bonner Foundation communication and reporting.  The preferred level of staffing is one full-time person for 40 Bonner students.  See Bonner Program Rules below for more details;
    • House the Bonner Program within a campus-wide community service, civic engagement, or service-learning center or office.


Service Expectations for Bonner Leaders

    • Develop a four-year program model, ideally integrating recruitment of Bonner Leaders into the school's regular recruitment process;
    • Attend orientation at the beginning of the program;
    • Perform a minimum of 280 hours of service and training during the school year (average of 10 hours per week for 14 weeks, with roughly 20% in training and reflection);
    • Attend regularly scheduled Bonner meetings and events and one-on-one advising with a staff member;
    • Engage in the student developmental model and common commitments;
    • Participate in a first-year service trip and a second-year service exchange (recommended);
    • Make a final presentation of learning;
    • Participate in a summer service internship (recommended).


Participation in the National Bonner Network

    • Identify students participating in the program as Bonner Leaders or Bonner Scholars, as appropriate based on funding source; 
    • Track and report on the program using the Bonner Web-Based Reporting System (BWBRS);
    • Attend the following annual Bonner Foundation meetings:
      • New Bonner Directors' & Coordinators' Meeting
      • Fall Bonner Directors' & Coordinators' Meeting
      • Fall Bonner Student Congress Meeting
      • Bonner Summer Leadership Institute  


Bonner Program Rules

We have a set of formal rules or guidelines that further elaborate on the core expectations described above. Because there is a different funding model for Bonner Scholar and Bonner Leader Programs, we have created a separate set of rules to reflect these differences.


Bonner Scholar Program Rules
  1. Recruitment and Selection

  2. Program
  3. Administration
  4. Finances
  5. Reporting
Bonner Leader Program Rules
  1. Recruitment and Selection
  2. Program
  3. Administration
  4. Finances
  5. Reporting