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Jack Kinnaman Scholarship

An outstanding leader sparks a legacy to help the next generation of educators.
Published: September 1, 2020

The NEA-Retired Jack Kinnaman Scholarship Fund was established in honor of Jack Kinnaman, the then-serving NEA-Retired Vice President. At his demise, the family wished to establish a scholarship program in his honor, thus beginning a much needed assistance activity for worthy aspiring educators.

In the first year of the program in 2002, a scholarship of $1,000 was awarded to one recipient. As Retired members have continued to generously donate, the amount has greatly increased to five scholarships of $3,500 each. To be considered for this award, aspiring educators must submit an application and several letters of recommendation. The NEA-Retired Intergenerational Committee selects the winners, who are announced at the NEA-Retired Annual meeting.

Find a list of all the winners since 2010 here.


We know college costs go far beyond just tuition.  The expense of text books, rent, food, transportation, and more also factor into the equation when you are trying to obtain your degree.  NEA Retired members recognize the stress you face; in response, they created a scholarship specifically for our college student members.

You may notice in the video, we refer to $2500 scholarships…but we are thrilled to announce that NEA Retired members have graciously raised enough money this year to award five individual scholarships of $3,500.00 each.

The deadline to apply closed on April 15, 2024 at 5:00 pm Eastern Time. The application portal will reopen in December 2025.

“I am so grateful for the Jack Kinnaman Scholarship. It allowed me to focus solely on student teaching this semester rather than trying to balance a job and school.”
—Tori Mitchell, Secondary education major, Kansas State University


Kinnaman Scholarship contributions are collected all year, and especially during the NEA-Retired Annual Meeting and at the Retired meeting held in conjunction with the NEA Summit. To submit a contribution electronically (the preferred donation method), please use this link:

If you want to mail a check, donate to the fund using this form and mail to the address at the bottom. Make sure to make the check payable to the NEA Foundation and put “Jack Kinnaman Scholarship Fund” in the donation line.


Jack Kinnaman was a devoted teacher for nearly three decades who served in many local, state, and national leadership roles, including president of the Delaware State Education Association. In 2008, his son, Rich, penned this letter about his father:

“March 2008 marked the sixth anniversary of my father's passing and not a day goes by that I do not think of my father and everything he accomplished in his life, specifically his impact on education.

“Whenever family and friends gather, he is always a lively topic, with memories and stories shared of the pranks he pulled, the sometimes really bad jokes he told, or the stories of him helping a neighbor, friend, family member or even a complete stranger.

“These stories run the gamut in intensity and degree of exaggeration but one thing was clear: Jack Kinnaman was a people-person who loved life and lived it to the fullest. Anyone who met him would come to know his unwavering dedication to education. He spent 28 years in the classroom and taught thousands of children.

“Even after he retired from the classroom in 1986, his passion for education thrived. He taught night classes and stayed engaged with NEA, becoming Vice President of NEA-Retired. He travelled around the country as a Read Across America ambassador, encouraging children to enjoy the experience of reading.

“Shortly after his passing, my family and NEA-Retired established the NEA-Retired Jack Kinnaman Memorial Scholarship Fund. This fund awards undergraduate students who are pursuing a degree in Education with financial assistance to achieve their educational goals.

“Last year, over $4,000 was awarded in scholarships [in 2022, the scholarship total is projected to be $17,500], and it is the goal of both the Kinnaman family and NEA-Retired to exceed the previous year’s amount from now on. It's all about doing what my dad would have done: helping others who share a passion to be an Educator.

“Those of you who knew my father surely remember the personal approach he applied to everything he did, specifically with the DSEA, the NEA, and the NEA-Retired. He was there with you, supporting, encouraging, raising awareness, and making a difference. We can continue his legacy-you, me, NEA-Retired, and active educators.

“I ask that you please support the NEA-Retired Jack Kinnaman Memorial Scholarship Fund by making a donation that will make a difference not only in the education of our winners, but also five, ten and twenty years from now as these students become excellent educators.”

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