Our Mission Statement

To Recognize and financially support non-traditional students in our community achieve their educational goals.


The application period for 2022 is now closed. The Uncommon Friends Foundation will resume applications in the Spring of 2024 Best of luck to all the applicants! Once all applications have been reviewed you will be contacted by our Scholarship team with the decision regarding your application. 


Uncommon Friends Foundation scholarships recognize deserving individuals who have a financial need, the potential to succeed in school, and demonstrate the personal traits of the uncommon friends–honesty, integrity, self-control, courage, commitment, compassion, citizenship, respect, a sense of purpose, responsibility, spirit of adventure, perseverance, friendship, and initiative. Scholarships are awarded to students in Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Glades, and Hendry counties.

The scholarship program began with a generous gift from Mrs. Berne Davis in memory of her late husband, civic and business leader Sidney R. Davis. As a strong proponent of the importance of education, her trust continues to fund an annual scholarship for a student who plans to become a teacher.

Donor support is always needed and appreciated. It’s easy to become a scholarship sponsor. Just email  Scholarships@uncommonfriends.org to learn how easy it is to help area students in need. All donors, no matter what size their gift, help to improve the lives of others and, subsequently, the community.

We are actively expanding the scholarship program every year to assist even more deserving men and women.

To submit your request, please complete the application and we will contact you.

Uncommon Friends Foundation 2023 Scholarship Award Categories

The Hilliard Scholarships – $2000 for 2 years = $4,000 – Two 2-year tuition scholarships will be awarded to high school seniors in Glades and Hendry Counties who will be attending Florida Gulf Coast University that have financial need. The $4,000.00 scholarship is for $2,000.00 for 2 years. The student must meet certain criteria during those 2 years.

Florida Prepaid College Foundation Scholarships – Uncommon Friends Foundation and Florida Prepaid College Foundation cooperate to provide scholarship for two years of state college tuition and local fees to select freshman and sophomore high school students who contract to succeed in high school, stay free of drugs and crime, and fulfill other scholarship conditions.

Special Recognition Scholarships – These scholarships are awarded to students that demonstrate a financial need, the desire and potential to succeed in school, and possess positive character traits. These scholarships are not age or career specific.

Technical College Scholarship – This scholarship is to assist with the tuition, books and supplies for one term at a Technical College. There are no age requirements. This award is to be used for expenses not covered by other scholarships or grants.

Berne Davis Future Teacher Scholarship – $1000 – Mrs. Berne Davis was dedicated to promoting lifelong learning, a sense of purpose, unending self-improvement, and a commitment to helping others. This scholarship in her name is for students matriculated in a program leading to a degree in education that demonstrate financial need.

Single Parent Scholarship – $1000 – The Single Parent Scholarship helps single parents further their education to gain skills to enter the workforce. This scholarship is focused on single parents who have overcome extraordinary obstacles and demonstrate financial need. This scholarship is not age or career specific.

LTC Anthony Stout Veteran Scholarship – $1000 – This scholarship is awarded to a Veteran who has a financial need, the desire and potential to succeed in school, and possesses positive character traits. This scholarship is not age or career specific.

Health Sciences Scholarship – $1000 – The Health Sciences Scholarship is for a student that has financial need studying toward a degree in a health field. Examples include nursing, dental hygiene, respiratory therapy, physical therapy, etc. This scholarship is not age specific.

PACE Center for Girls Lee Scholarship – $1000 – PACE Center for Girls, Lee County, nominates a current student for this scholarship under our Special Recognition Scholarship. The student must have completed the Uncommon Friends Character Education Curriculum and demonstrate the character traits of the Uncommon Friends including loyalty, friendship, honesty, and integrity.

James F. Chelius, Jr. Scholarship for Challenged Students – $1000 – This scholarship is awarded to a student with a disability who has the desire and potential to succeed in school and possesses positive character traits. The disability can be, but is not limited to, dyslexia, hearing, sight, physical, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and others. Student must maintain a B average. This scholarship is not age or career specific.

Jared Basco “Pay It Forward” Scholarship – $1,000 – This scholarship is awarded to a student that has financial need that has demonstrated “Pay It Forward” characteristics to the community or educational institution. The scholarship is not age or career specific.

Valerie’s House Scholarship – $1,000 – Valerie’s House, Lee County, nominates a graduating high school senior for this scholarship under our Special Recognition Scholarship. The student must have financial need and demonstrate the character traits of the Uncommon Friends including loyalty, friendship, honesty, and integrity.


Nominees must be nominated/sponsored by an organization, educational institution, etc.

Nominees cannot nominate themselves or be nominated by a family member.

Nominees must submit a completed nomination/application form, a 500 word essay on their reason for applying for the scholarship and how they feel they emulate the traits of the Uncommon Friends. These must be accompanied by a letter from a sponsoring organization such as a social service agency, school counselor, teacher, or principal along with one or more letters of recommendation. A digital color photograph will be required upon applicant’s acceptance.

Applications for 2023 awards are currently closed. Applications for 2024 will open soon. 

If you have any questions relating to scholarships, please email them to us at scholarships@uncommonfriends.org.


The Uncommon Friends Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1993 and dedicated to lifelong character building among today’s youth and business leaders. It promotes character education in schools, ethics in the workplace, and preservation of the historic Burroughs Home & Gardens and James Newton Archives. The Uncommon Friends Foundation is located at the Burroughs Home & Gardens on the riverfront in downtown Fort Myers at 2505 First Street.



Meet Jared Basco, an Uncommon Friends scholarship recipient who has paid it forward by donating monthly to the Scholarship Program since he graduated. Click the video start button to hear Jared’s story.

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2505 First Street
Fort Myers, FL 33901



Royal Palm Yacht Club Ladies Visit Burroughs Home

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Uncommon Evening 2011

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Champion Teachers

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Business Ethics Award Recipients

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Historic Images

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Honorary Lifetime Membership Winners

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Uncommon Friends Membership Meeting 2011

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Business Ethics Luncheon 2012

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Business Ethics Lunch 2016 at FGCU

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Annual Meeting 2012

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Scholarship Recipients

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Uncommon Evening 2012

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2016 Scholarship Recipients

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Uncommon Evening 2016

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2018 Scholarship Reception

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2018 Reflections on the River Gala

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2019 Business Ethics Luncheon at FGCU

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2019 Uncommon Evening: Pearls of Wisdom

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