The motto "Access to Education, Opportunity to Serve" distills the overarching goal of the Bonner Program.  Since 1990, a diverse, multi-state consortium of participating colleges and universities have been joined through a common commitment to the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation’s mission to “transform students, communities, and campuses through service.” 


The central goal of the Bonner Program is to provide diverse, predominantly low-income students with an “Access to Education and Opportunity to Serve.”   This two-part mission is accomplished through allowing students to meet the work-study obligation in their financial aid packages through off-campus community service positions.  

four-year developmental model

We have defined the core expectations for every Bonner Program in our national network.  The four-year developmental model has been refined over the years and represent the best practices from all campuses with Bonner Programs.


The Bonner Program has gone through a series of phases in its 25+ year history since the pilot year at Berea College in 1990-91.  The network of participating staff, students, faculty, and community partners at each campus has worked closely with the Bonner Foundation staff and our national partners to refine and expand on the program's initial program model and promise.



The Bonner Foundation has authored or contributed to a series of publications related to the Bonner Program model and campus-wide community engagement. Organized chronologically, these publications give a picture of the broad and deep impact of the Bonner Network programs on participating campuses and higher education as a whole.

National Network

The Bonner Foundation’s Network is made up of 65  participating colleges and universities that annually support more than 3,000 students in the four-year service-based scholarship program.  annually, local and national non-profit organizations, and a thriving Alumni network.  Collectively, we work towards transforming students, communities, and campuses through service.

Bonner  Alumni Network

Connect with other Bonner Alumni via Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter, and join the a network of more than 15,000 Bonner alumni. Our 20th Anniversary survey (2010) indicates that about 65% of our alumni choose a career in government and non-profit sectors, often tied to their undergraduate service experiences. 

apply to be a bonner

If you are interested in becoming a Bonner, you must apply directly one of our campus partners. Each campus has their own application and selection process.    Use the link below to learn more about each college or university and their Bonner Program.

Start a Bonner Program

There are 65 colleges and universities with Bonner Programs supporting 3,000 student annually. All of the schools agree to implement the basic elements common to all Bonner Programs and to attend our annual series of gatherings.  If you are interested in starting your own Bonner Program and joining our national network, see more details by clicking below. 

Become a National Partner

National Bonner Partner organizations build relationships with the Bonner Foundation to reach out to students, staff, and faculty in the Bonner Network to offer Alternative Break Sites, Educational Opportunities, Internship Opportunities (year long or summer), Job Opportunities, or other resources aligned with the Bonner Program's goals and strategies.