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Center for Leadership & Community Engagement

Bonner Leaders Program

Developed by the Bonner Foundation, a national philanthropic charity based in Princeton, this program works to transform not only the students who are directly supported by the program, but also the campuses and communities in which they serve and learn.

At the core of the Bonner Program is the belief that colleges play a vital role in nurturing and mobilizing thoughtful, caring, and diverse leaders dedicated to community service. This cohort-based program pairs undergraduate students with local nonprofit organizations in an intensive and sustained manner. This is achieved by:

  • Providing access to a college education to students who have a proven desire to serve
  • Affording students the opportunity to engage their talents and strengthen leadership skills
  • Channeling the energies of students, faculty, and staff to make significant contributions to the local community
  • Working to improve people’s lives, enhance the environment, and build stronger communities
  • Furthering a culture of service so that more students are involved in these efforts every day

2022-2023- Year in Review

  • The Bonner Leader Program had a total of 38 students and recorded a total of 6125.36 hours

Bonner Leaders Overview


A four-year, community service opportunity that provides scholarships to students who are passionate about volunteering with a local nonprofit organization. Students participate in training and enrichment related to community engagement throughout their time at Rollins. Through community-based learning and service, they are empowered to address some of the greatest challenges of our time.

Who is a Rollins Bonner Leader?

Each year, a cohort of 10 freshman CLA students are selected to be Bonner leaders. Bonners are a diverse group who are passionate about working with the community and dedicated to addressing some of the greatest challenges of our time through community-based learning and service. They gain extensive experience working with and contributing to nonprofit organizations, while serving as ambassadors on campus to get other students involved in the community.


Students are selected through a highly competitive process that includes a written application and an interview round. Interested students who are eligible for federal work-study are encouraged to apply. As a prerequisite of this service scholarship, Bonner Leaders are expected to demonstrate their commitment to serving others. These activities could include service with local nonprofit organizations, involvement or leadership with school clubs, mission trips, family responsibilities, and/or jobs outside of school.

How It Works:
Bonner Leaders:
  • Serve 8-10 hours per week with a local, nonprofit organization
  • Engage in 2-4 hours per week of training and enrichment through interdisciplinary classes
  • Arrive to campus early to participate in an annual fall retreat
  • Participate in two immersive experiences: first-year intercession immersion and sophomore exchange
  • Complete one summer of service with a community-based organization
  • Conduct a senior capstone project that involves community-based research
  • Are dedicated to seven common commitments: Social justice, Diversity, Community-Building, Spiritual Exploration, Civic Engagement, Wellness, and International Perspective
  • Log their hours using GivePulse 
  • Encourage other Rollins students to get involved in service and leadership initiatives
  • Receive a direct grant of $3,000 annually 
Values & Beliefs:
  • Committed to working with people and institutions regardless of age, race, belief, or nationality
  • Colleges have vital societal roles to play in nurturing and mobilizing  thoughtful, caring, and diverse leaders dedicated to community service
  • Often the best way to help someone is to give them the opportunity to help themselves, and the people best able to address problems are those who are most directly affected
  • Effective community service programs involve all stakeholders
  • Long-lasting partnerships are based on mutual respect and common commitments
  • Innovative programs have the potential to serve as models for other higher-education institutions

“I came to Rollins because of the Bonner Program. Bonner provides me with the opportunity to work on issues that are important to me while also pursuing my education. The ability to have a long-term placement with a nonprofit organization has allowed me to build meaningful relationships and a greater sense of belonging to the local community.”  - Student

For a more complete overview of the Bonner Program and your potential commitment, please check out the Bonner Roadmap.

Learn more about the National Bonner Program.

How to apply:

Discover more about the Bonner Program by attending a 30-minute virtual presentation. Our current Bonner Leaders will guide you through the experience from freshman to senior year in the program. Choose from one of the three sessions:

  1. Wednesday January 31st from 6:30pm – 7:15pm est. Click here to join the meeting
  2. Thursday February 8thth from 6:30pm – 7:15pm est. Click here to join the meeting
  3. Monday February 19th from 6:30pm – 7:15pm est. Click here to join the meeting

In order to apply for this year’s Bonner cohort, you must be an incoming first-year student who has already been accepted to Rollins College. You can access the application by January 10th, 2024 through your online Rollins portal. 

The application deadline for Fall 2024 is February 20th, 2024. For more information, please contact Rollins Bonner Program Director, Victoria Teske, 



Bonner Community Partners

The program partners with nonprofit organizations in multiple issue areas, including education, the environment, hunger and homelessness, healthcare, youth with disabilities, and many more. Partners serve as co-educators in community engagement. 

Community Partner Guidelines:  We see your role as co-educator and facilitator of an effective relationship between your organization and a Rollins Bonner Leader. It is highly recommended that someone from your staff be assigned to the student as a manager and mentor. Your Bonner site supervisor will work with the students in creating a Community Learning Agreement and will sign off on hour logs. It’s preferred that the site supervisor be present for the majority of the time that the student is on-site with your organization.

Community Learning Agreement:  This a thoughtful way for Rollins Bonner Leaders to consider their own developmental goals in collaboration with the goals of the organization. Bonner Leaders are expected to develop new knowledge and skills related to their service work over their four years at Rollins and apply what they are learning at their partner sites. The agreement is at the core of the partnership, enabling students and service sites to achieve mutually valuable goals.

Hour Logs: Hours are logged through GivePulse that the student imputs each time they complete a shift at their site. The site supervisors will be able to approve the Bonners hours through their profile on GivePulse as well as our staff. If you are a community partner, please reach out about getting set up on GivePulse.

Current Partner Organizations:


Chance 2 Dance 

Grace Medical Home

Hannibal Square Heritage Center

Holocaust Center

Hope Community Center 

New Hope for Kids

Opportunity Community Ability

Orange County League of Women Voters

Ronald McDonald House Charities

The LGBT Center


Winter Park Day Nursery

Zebra Coalition

For more information about becoming a Bonner community partner, please contact Rollins Bonner Program Director, Victoria Teske,