In the spring of 2021 the Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund will award multiple $5000 college scholarships to female-identifying students enrolled in the senior class at Mercer Island High School (MIHS) and at Rainier Beach High School (RBHS). DEADLINE for RECEIPT of ALL APPLICATION MATERIALS IS APRIL 18, 2021.

The scholarship will be awarded to students intending to enroll at a two or four-year college or university in the fall of 2021. Enrollment may be at a two or four-year college or university.

Students should demonstrate commitment to the values and goals embodied in the life and work of Dr. Stanley Ann Dunham, a 1960 Mercer Island High School graduate, anthropologist, and mother of the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack H. Obama, and Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng.  These values and goals include:

  • Serving people who have been historically oppressed and/or marginalized;
  • Promoting social justice and the rights of women;
  • Organizing and empowering communities;
  • Respecting and understanding diverse cultures; and
  • Demonstrating rigorous and socially relevant academic work.

The Scholarship Selection Committee, appointed by the Board of Directors of the Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund, will determine an applicant’s commitment to Dr. Dunham’s values and goals based on demonstrated leadership and independent initiative in community and family service, extracurricular activities, academic achievement, and college plans.

Application Instructions

The application is available as a Word document you can download, or as an online form you can fill out. (Online applications can be saved and completed later, if needed.)

Essay Advice—We’re Here To Help!

Required Documents

  • Completed application;
  • High school transcript including grades received for the first semester of senior year; and
  • Two letters of reference, one reference must be from outside of MIHS or RBHS.


If you did not fill out the application online, email your completed application, two letters of recommendation, and transcript to

Alternatively, mail to:

Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund
7683 SE 27th St., #102
Mercer Island, WA 98040-4124

Application (document)

Download the Word document.

Application (online)

Fill out the application online.

More information about Stanley Ann Dunham

Stanley Ann Dunham graduated (class of 1960) from Mercer Island Island High School. She would go on to enroll her college education at the University of Washington and the University of Hawaii. After she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in 1967, she moved to Jakarta where she began field work and eventually earned a Master’s Degree.

Later, Dr. Dunham worked in Pakistan for the Agricultural Development Bank on some of the first microcredit projects for poor women and artisans. She returned to Indonesia to continue her microfinance work as a consultant for Bank Rakyat. These microloan programs are still used today by the government of Indonesia.

In 1992, Dr. Dunham received her doctorate in anthropology. That same year, she moved to New York to work for the Women’s World Banking (WWB) as its policy coordinator, where her work was pivotal in forming the policy platform of the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. Today the WWB is the largest global network of microfinance institutions and banks in terms of number of clients, and the only one that explicitly designates poor women as the focus of its mission.

As a pioneering anthropologist and a lifelong supporter of women’s rights, Dr. Dunham worked to improve the economies of rural communities around the world. Dr. Dunham became a leader in the field of global development. Through her research and immersion in the daily life of rural people in other countries and cultures, she championed new ways of providing financial support—through credit programs and microfinancing—to help rural communities and artisans build sustainable businesses.