Introducing Our 2016 Scholars

On May 21st, the President's sister, Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng presented our scholarships to Mercer Island High School Seniors Holly Waggoner and Rose Guttman. 

“I am driven to explore opportunities to further girls’ education and to create a world where this is not a privilege, but a right.” -Holly Waggoner

 "Going to bed at night and knowing I’ve tried to do my best to make a difference in my community, helping the less fortunate, volunteering to help local businesses prosper..."-Rose Guttman

Read more about our scholars...

Honored Guests: Governor, President's Sister

The five finalists with Governor Jay Inslee and guest speaker Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng

On Saturday, May 21st, the Stanley Ann Dunham Fund granted scholarships to graduating seniors Holly Waggoner and Rose Guttman from Mercer Island High School, the same high school that Stanley Ann Dunham graduated from in 1960. The fund also presented a monetary award to graduating senior Sumaya Mohamed from the University of Washington, the winner of this year’s UW/Dunham Essay Contest. 

At the Ceremony we welcomed two very special guests: our keynote Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng, Stanley Ann Dunham’s daughter and President Barack Obama’s sister, and Governor Jay Inslee.

Governor Inslee opened the ceremony by proudly congratulating Mercer Island for its high school’s distinguished alumna, Stanley Ann Dunham. “Because of her life” he said, “700,000 people in our state have health care today.” He was referring to the number of people who have been able to acquire health care under President Obama’s new health care laws.

Our guest speaker, Dr. Maya Soeteoro-Ng, shares her brother’s dedication to public service and their mother’s passion for global citizenship and social justice. A professor of peace education and conflict resolution at the University of Hawaii, Dr. Soetoro-Ng speaks worldwide about her peace initiatives.

Dr. Soetoro-Ng feels a strong connection with Mercer Island. She spoke about how her mother’s years growing up on Mercer Island influenced her: “It gave her enough of a sense of community, spirituality and grounded-ness that she was brave enough to go off to Indonesia,” she said.

Dr. Soetoro-Ng candidly shared her own experiences as a mother of two young girls. She especially moved the audience when she spoke about her adopted daughter. Her speech was followed by a Q and A, where we learned more about her teaching and childhood in Indonesia. Although Dr. Soetoro-Ng’s speech was geared towards the teen applicants to the Scholarship, she inspired everyone in the room. 

Finally the big moment arrived: it was time to announce the winners of the Scholarship. Board members Susie Rosenstein and Maxine Box recognized the accomplishments of each of the five finalists, who have volunteered to improve living conditions and opportunities in the areas of education, gender equality, homelessness and public health. The five finalists were the finalists were Eliana Grosoff, Megan Lee, Piper Casey, and this year’s scholars, Holly Waggoner and Rose Guttman.

For the second consecutive year, the Fund presented an award to the winner of an essay contest held by the University of Washington Anthropology Department. The winner, senior Sumaya Mohamed, plans to pursue work with vulnerable populations in global public health


President Obama's Sister, Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng, is 2016 Award Ceremony Guest Speaker

Guest speaker Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng

We are honored to welcome President Obama's sister, Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng, as special guest speaker at our 7th Annual Scholarship Award Ceremony to honor the finalists and winners of our 2016 scholarship, as well as the winner of the Dunham/UW Anthropology Essay Contest.

Dr. Soetoro-Ng, the daughter of Stanley Ann Dunham, shares her mother's passion for education and peacebuilding. She holds a Ph.D in Comparative Education and works at the Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution at the University of Hawaii. She teaches Peace Education and Leadership for Social Change and launched a national curriculum called "Ceeds of Peace" in schools around the country. and has also founded numerous inner city programs for youth to promote community service and community engagement.  

  • Saturday May 21 from 2-4pm
  • The Congregational Church on Mercer Island at 4545 Island Crest Way
  • Meet Dr. Soetoro-Ng at a Reception and Fundraiser following the award ceremony from 5-7pm at a private home on Mercer Island.
  • Email us for more information and to RSVP to the Reception at 
  • Suggested minimum donation of $150 (click on paypal button on this page to donate by credit card)   

Both Dr. Soetoro-Ng and her brother, President Obama, were shaped by their mother's powerful vision of what a worthy life looks like.  "My mother was very determined to be remembered for a life of service and thought that service was really the true measure of a life," says Soetoro-Ng. The title of her talk at the Ceremony will be "The Courage To Serve." 


Our 2015 Scholarship Award Winners

2015 Scholarship winners Naomi Moore (on left) and Adrienne Suhm

(Above:2015 Scholarship winners Naomi Moore (on left) and Adrienne Suhm)

The Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund board congratulates  2015 Scholarship award winners Naomi Moore and Adrienne Suhm. Our 6th annual award ceremony was held at the Burke Museum in Seattle on May 1st. Click here to read to an article from the Mercer Island Reporter about the amazing academic and service work these two women have accomplished during their high school years.

2015 Scholarship Award at Event at the UW Burke Museum

Join us for an evening of celebration and learning on May 1 at the Burke Museum in Seattle. RSVP HERE! We believe that early recognition and support of these young scholars’ work will encourage them to continue on their path creating meaningful change as global citizens. If you are not able to make the event, please consider making a donation here to our effort.

May 1st scholarship event. Stanley Ann Dunham Fund

Great post by the Mercer Island Reporter here: 


February 28 is the deadline for 2015 Scholarship Applications

Stanley Ann Dunham Fund 2014 Scholarship Applicants

The deadline for submitting your application for the 2015 Stanley Ann Dunham $5,000 Scholarship is just two weeks away.The application form is available or in the counseling office. The essay gives you a chance to reflect on your volunteer service work experiences. Tell us about any challenges you faced, how these experiences may have changed you, and how you plan to pursue these ideals in the future. 

Remember that the application must be mailed to us by February 28. Our address is: 7683 SE 27th St #102, Mercer Island, WA  98040.



Name the So What: Stanley Ann Dunham's daughter's lesson learned from her mother.

Stanley Ann Dunham’s daughter Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng speaking at the Scholarship Award Ceremony in 2013

Stanley Ann Dunham’s daughter, Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng, is a strong advocate for education and service. She grew up in Indonesia and traveled with her Anthropologist mother to small villages not just to study and observe the ancient crafts of textile-making and metal work, but to find new ways to help the people make a living from their work. “My mother believed in Applied Anthropology: How do we make the lives of people better? For me that lesson has been important. ” Now, as a teacher of teachers at the University of Hawaii, Maya tells her students that it’s not just about learning, but how to apply what we learn to make it work in the real world. “At the end of each class, I ask my teachers to name the so what. What have we learned and what are we going to do with it? It’s always about applying our learning and making it work.”  

The Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund is now accepting applications for our 2015 Scholarship. Share your thoughts and experience of putting your education to work through service to others by applying now. Click here for the application and qualifications for this scholarship. 

2014 Scholar Ellena Jones

Ellena Jones Stanley Ann Dunham Fund

Ellena Jones, one of our 2014 scholars, is entering the University of Washington as a freshman this fall. She had this to say about receiving a $5,000 scholarship: “The Stanley Ann Dunham scholarship has enabled me to take time off from my work/study job to focus on academics during my first semester of college. It will also allow me to continue my volunteer work with Agape House in Seattle. working with young people in transition from foster care.

2014 SADF Scholarship Winners

Stanley Ann Dunham 2014 Scholarship Winners

On May 3, 2014, Mercer Island High School graduating seniors Ellena Jones (on left) and Rachel Gallagher were each awarded $5,000 scholarships at the fifth annual Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Award Ceremony  at the Mercer Island Community and Events Center. Each year, the Fund recognizes outstanding MIHS female graduating students who demonstrate Stanley Ann Dunham’s commitment to academic achievement, serving marginalized communities, and empowering women around the world.   

Rachel Gallagher began volunteering as a sophomore to help children with special needs after reading an inspiring article about a Mercer Island organization called Friendship Circle of Washington. Realizing the stigma surrounding the special needs students at MIHS, she decided to create "Lunch Buddies" to ensure that these students have companions to eat with at lunch. Her knowledge and passion deepened after she spent a summer at Seattle Children’s Hospital researching autism and assisting patients and their families. Her plans for the future include Carleton College and then medical school where she hopes to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by autism. In her own words, “The marginalizing impact of autism makes it my goal to return to Seattle Children’s someday as a psychiatrist. As I take the next steps towards this dream…I will emulate Stanley Ann by dedicating myself to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by autism.”

Stanley Ann Dunham speakerEllena Jones has developed an independence and self-advocacy discipline that has guided her through her life. She has held numerous positions of responsibility in her volunteering activities with Mercer Island Youth and Family Services, Natural Helpers, and Seattle Music Partners in addition to an excellent academic record. According to her high school guidance counselor, Ellena epitomizes perseverance and strength in the midst of adversity. She has proven to be a natural leader in her musical pursuits as well, acting as section leader and playing saxophone in the Jazz Ensemble. Ellena plans to major in social work in college. “I want to empower others in the way I have had to motivate myself to overcome poverty, foster care and homelessness. I hope to be that mother figure for others, especially children, living in difficult situations.”

Photo to the right: 2014 Guest speaker Vulcan Productions Senior producer Hilary Sparrow 

Our guest speakers this year were  “Girl Rising” senior producer Hilary Sparrow of Vulcan Productions and 2001 Mercer Island Alum Sarah Grausz.  

Ms Sparrow is also Director of Production on projects for the Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, Smithsonian Channel, and the.National Geographic Channel where she managed productions in nearly every corner of the globe including Cuba, Mexico, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. 

SaraSarah Grausz has built a career in international development, designing and implementing programs to improve bi-lateral relations between the U.S. and developing countries She offered three valuable tips for graduating seniors:”…First I want to talk about role models. Of the applicants here today, how many of you have a role model? For President Obama, his mother and grandmother were his role models, and their worldliness and empathy broadened his horizons and shaped his philosophy. Read more: 

Below: Twelve graduating senior women at Mercer Island High School were honored for outstanding service and academic achievement at our 2014 scholarship award ceremony. (from left): Rachel Gallagher and Ellena Jones (Scholarship winners), Caroline Anne Kasman, Ilana Kleiner-Kanter, Sydney Lopes, Natalie Ricklefs, Megan Ingram, Rachel VanGelder and Mary Wingerson (Latrevian Saunders, Megan Ingram and Anna Brosius were not able to attend).






Scholarship Awards Ceremony is set for May 3, 2014

Stanley Ann Dunham Foundation Girl Rising Film ScreeningThe Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund’s 5th Annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony is set for May 3, 2014 at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center. The program will begin at 1pm and is open to the public.
Our guest speaker this year is Hilary Sparrow, Executive Producer of Vulcan Productions’ feature film, Girl Rising. The scholarship ceremony will be followed by a screening of the film and a Q&A with Sparrow.
Per the Mercer Island Reporter:

"The Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund’s  5th Annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony is set for May 3 at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center. The program will begin at 1 p.m. (doors open at 12:40 p.m.), and is open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The scholarship presentation will be followed at 2 p.m, by a screening of the groundbreaking documentary film “Girl Rising.” Narrated by Meryl Streep, Ann Hathaway and others, the film tells the stories of nine girls in developing countries who overcome nearly impossible odds to pursue their dreams of education and bettering their lives.

Vulcan Productions Senior Producer Hilary Sparrow will introduce the film and hold a Q&A after the film. This portion of the program is a fundraiser for the SADSF, and a small donation is suggested. The Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund was founded in 2010 to honor Stanley Ann Dunham, a 1960 graduate of Mercer Island High School. The mother of President Barack Obama, devoted her life to the social and economic development and empowerment of women world-wide.

Since its inception, the Scholarship fund has awarded $5,000 college scholarships each year to outstanding graduating senior women at MIHS who have demonstrated a commitment to Stanley Ann’s values of social activism, global citizenship, and the empowerment of women through education and service.

The SADSF Board would like to thank the Mercer Island Community Fund for their generous grant to the Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund to help fund the costs of this year’s program.

Contact for more information."