2023 Benefactor Designated Scholarships

Application Deadline: May 07, 2023

Twenty benefactors will fund 24 Benefactor Designated Scholarships with a value of $38,750 for members of the Miss North Carolina Class of 2023. These scholarships are available to candidates in addition to any other funds earned in the state competition. They are subject to the 2023 Scholarship Rules and any terms and conditions expressed by the benefactor. The Application Guidelines for these scholarships have been posted to the Miss North Carolina Candidate Portal and ncesfund.org/BDS. Candidates must follow these guidelines when applying for a Benefactor Designated Scholarship.

Benefactor Designated Scholarships


In memory of longtime state volunteer Beverly Adams, the Miss North Carolina Sisterhood has established this scholarship to honor her lifetime of contributions to North Carolina. This scholarship seeks to identify a young person of exceptional character, academic excellence, and one who understands the devotion to public service, dedication to community, and the elevation of the Arts as central to public discourse, demonstrated through volunteerism and the continued pursuit of higher education. Like Beverly, this individual continually strives to lift up those around them; one who exceeds expectations while quietly encouraging others to become the best version of themselves. Applicants should demonstrate an understanding of the interrelationship of good government, volunteering, and the importance of the Arts. Candidates should consider describing their journey of faith (secular or religious) in their calling for the greater good and why their educational goals can result in doing something for the greater good in their life’s calling. A minimum 3.5 GPA is required.


Phyllis Hicks and Karen Bloomquist Elson of will fund the Four Points $2000 scholarship in honor of Wayne Hicks and his 55 years of service to the Miss North Carolina Organization. A graduate of King’s College and career business executive with the NC Department of Transportation, Wayne began working with the Miss Southern Pines Competition in 1968. He served as the North Carolina Jaycee Chair of the Miss North Carolina Program, business manager for nine Miss North Carolinas, a Miss North Carolina Field Director, and Chief of Field Operations. Currently he serves as Director, Vice President, and Treasurer for the North Carolina Educational Scholarship Fund. This scholarship will be awarded to a 2023 candidate who best exemplifies the four points of the original Miss America Crown – – Style, Service, Scholarship, and Success. Applicants should present their commitment to these four points and to the Miss America Program.


A graduate of NC State University, Dakeita is an alumna of the Miss North Carolina Program having held the titles of Miss Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Miss Cabarrus Counites. She went on to earn the title of Miss Connecticut 1983. After returning to the Tarheel State, she established the Miss Western Piedmont Pageant which for many years was among the largest preliminaries in the Miss North Carolina Program. Dakeita will fund a $1500 scholarship for a 2023 Miss North Carolina Candidate who can demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirt for long term economic growth and development opportunities.


This award is sponsored by Dana Reason, Miss North Carolina 2003, who not only won this award at the state level but placed second out of the entire nation at Miss America 2004 for her community service platform. Through her body of work, Dana has been a policy advocate, succeeded in the passing of pediatric cancer legislation and has committed her professional career to related initiatives. This scholarship will be awarded to the individual who demonstrates through application and private interview their ongoing commitment to community service now and in the future.


Competing for and winning the title of Miss North Carolina 1994, Dana Stephenson Dixon dedicated her platform to CRUSADE, a project focused on bringing together community to fight drug and alcohol abuse through volunteerism and advocacy. In that spirit Dana is sponsoring this scholarship which seeks out young women who are focused on improving the health and welfare of their community. Applicants should demonstrate the problem they have and will continue to address, how they plan to bring a community together to solve the issues and what the benefits will be through consistent volunteerism and advocacy.


The Woman in Business Scholarship has been established and will be funded by Emily Carr Sprague to encourage more young women to pursue a career in business. Emily is the owner and President of Carr Precast Concrete of Dunn, NC. She and her husband Tracey assumed the management of her family’s business and through their leadership the company has continued to grow and prosper by offering a variety of products throughout the nation to organizations as diverse as UPS and the United States Marine Corps. The company also works with State Departments of Transportation and is a certified contractor in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Applicants for this scholarship must demonstrate their interest in business, detailing their goals and how they will achieve them while highlighting any current business plans.


This scholarship was established under the Will of Eric Ennis and is funded by an endowment from his estate. Eric studied music at ECU, earned a master’s degree in opera at the University of Michigan and was a member of the United States Army Chorus having performed at the White House many times. He began his career singing opera in New York before finding his true talent as a gown designer. For more than 50 years he was one of the preeminent clothing designers in the Miss America Program having dressed a dozen or so Miss Americas and an untold number of young women competing in the Miss North Carolina Program. Class of 2023 candidates who are pursuing a degree in music or have received a degree in music and are actively pursuing a music career are eligible to apply for this scholarship. A 90-second video performance is required as part of this application.


The Public Service Scholarship was established in 2018 and is funded by Julie Caudle Fields, retired Director of Planning and Development for the City of Asheville. A Duke University honors graduate, with a law degree and Master’s in City and Regional Planning from UNC-CH, Julie is an alumna of the Miss North Carolina Program. She was a Top Ten contender as Miss Thomasville, and 4th Runner-Up to Miss North Carolina and Miss Congeniality as Miss Durham. Preference will be given to a candidate with a specific interest in government service.


Julie Martin attended Meredith College and North Carolina State University and represented both the Lincoln County Apple Festival and Miss Mount Holly in the Miss North Carolina Competition. She has built a successful and distinguished career in the real estate business and was recently appointed President of Keller Williams, one of the south’s leading real estate firms. New in 2023, Julie has established and will fund a scholarship to recognize a young woman of courage and conviction. In the essay required for this scholarship, applicants must explain what obstacles they have faced, how they overcame them, where they have made a difference and demonstrate that they have made the right decisions for themselves.


The Kay Dickinson Teaching Scholarship was established and is funded by McNeil and Sandra Chestnut in honor of Kay Dickinson, a legendary elementary school teacher and Hostess for the Miss North Competition for more than 45 years. Kay was honored by the Governor of North Carolina with membership in the Order of the Long Leaf Pine and by the Triad Region of North Carolina for her commitment to public education. Candidates who are actively pursuing a degree in education, or who are currently teaching in the North Carolina public schools, may apply for this scholarship.


With a lifestyle enriched by focusing on the benefits of sports and wellbeing, an anonymous donor has created this scholarship in honor of Karolyn D. Martin, Miss North Carolina 2022. Karolyn played volleyball competitively for over ten years and continues to participate recreationally. Her community service initiative, #SelfKare: Eat to Success, serves to promote nutrition while taking the focus off of weight and appearance. She credits this idea to learning about the importance of fueling your body as an athlete. During her time in the Miss NC Scholarship Organization, she published a cookbook, hosted national wellness summits, and partnered with the United States Department of Agriculture’s “Team Nutrition” school program. This scholarship is open to applicants who can speak to the benefits they have experienced being involved in sports and/or are pursuing a sports-related career field. Applicants must demonstrate what they have learned to care for their mind, body and spirit through sports and which lessons they will carry through life as they continue to excel personally and professionally. Applicants should speak to at least two of the following attributes in their statement: Leadership, Discipline, Resilience, Teamwork. This scholarship is limited to non-dancing athletics.


Lane was an accomplished member of the community with longtime professional experience in the fields of Education, Finance and ultimately in Marketing for the North Carolina Zoological Park. His heart for entertainment is where he truly let his light shine. Lane’s prowess as a singer, actor, emcee and storied cabaret producer is known throughout the state. His creative expertise was only surpassed by his gift for storytelling, impersonations and a phenomenal sense of comedic timing. Most of all, Lane is remembered for his commitment to the Miss North Carolina Pageant family as exhibited by 50 years of volunteer service. Lane is legendary in these circles and is respected and admired dearly by the pageant community. The Love and Light Scholarship will honor the life of Lane Ragsdale. Applicants will be called upon to demonstrate a body of work that exemplifies passion, commitment and inclusion.


Julie Martin studied dance for many years and and danced in competition during the Miss North Carolina Competition. She has established The Martin Dance Scholarship to honor members of the Miss North Carolina Class of 2023 who have trained, sweated, rehearsed and will give it their best in competition. The scholarship was also established to honor Rhonda and Hannah Martin and in memory of Sadie Martin. Applicants will be required to submit a 90 second video as part of the application.


An alumna of the Miss Georgia Program, a graduate of the University of Georgia and Harvard University, Mikaya is a Public Relations Strategist who helps companies and clients achieve their branding goals. She’s spent more than a decade honing the power of messaging and her award-winning career began as a journalist including WRAL-TV in Raleigh. As Mikaya put it, so much of what she has accomplished, and where she is today, is because of her participation in the Miss America Program. She now wants to give back and will fund a scholarship to support the career aspirations in Mass Communications. The essay underlying the application should speak to the values of resilience, integrity and authenticity while also demonstrating the applicant’s goals for the future. The benefactor will require a virtual interview of the top three candidates.


Since 1945, the Miss America organization has established itself as one of the earliest scholarship resources to ensure higher education opportunities for women. North Carolina takes pride in not only those who achieve education goals, but also those who reach top honors in academics. NCESF is pleased to recognize a young woman who most exemplifies academic excellence with this award. It takes a unique individual who not only recognizes the value of education but also strives with dedication and commitment to exceed expectations. Applicants for this scholarship should demonstrate the character traits they developed to achieve academic excellence and how they will apply the lessons learned to reach career and personal goals in the future. The application must include high school and college GPA, noting any scholastic awards, research projects, papers or other evidence of academic accomplishments.


This scholarship was established in 2017 and is funded by Smithfield, one of North Carolina’s leading agricultural enterprises, to honor a candidate from an agricultural background, including parents or grandparents who are farmers. The application must show work experience in an agriculture related field, an agricultural course of study or family involvement in farming. Preference will be given to a candidate who has a direct link to the swine industry.


The Healthcare Impact Scholarship was established by Victoria Baskett in 2017. Victoria’s scholarship is funded by the Victoria Baskett Patient Safety Foundation, and will be awarded to a candidate pursuing studies in the field of healthcare. As a Miss North Carolina Program alumna, she held the titles of Miss Greater Cape Fear, Miss Goldsboro and Miss Fayetteville and was awarded the Miss America Community Service Award and was a two-time top ten contender at the state competition. Victoria completed her undergraduate degree at UNC Chapel Hill, where she also earned her Master’s in Healthcare Administration. She is an internationally renowned advocate for patient safety and holds several healthcare performance improvement credentials. Victoria is a Managing Director at PG Forsta, an international healthcare company, where she works on client management, growth and strategy.


A scholarship was established in 2019 and is being funded by an anonymous donor in honor of Victoria Huggins, Miss North Carolina 2017, the 80th Queen of the Tarheel State. The benefactor has provided that the scholarship recipient must “exemplify a joyful spirt of style and service that reflects her commitment to her community and the greater good of the State of North Carolina.”


The first Benefactor Designated Scholarship, the World Changer scholastic award was established in 2014 by Ward Black Law, founded by Janet Ward Black, Miss North Carolina 1980. Janet Ward is a graduate of Davidson College and Duke University School of Law. A very prominent attorney and recognized leader in the North Carolina legal community, she has served as President of the North Carolina Bar Association and the North Carolina Advocates for Justice. This scholarship is given to a candidate who can demonstrate her vision of how she could improve the world through non-profits or business endeavors. The funds may be used to help accomplish this recipient’s vision through continued education.


The Wells Fargo Foundation has approved for the 4th year, a $10,000 grant with which to fund five Community Service Impact Scholarship at $2000 each. An independent review panel will consider an applicant’s quality and extent of community service provided. Applicants should show the amount of fund raising, if any, as well as the number of hours of community service and the results of any projects or initiatives.