In 2018, the Fund established a Preschool Scholarship to provide tuition assistance for preschool programs, which can be a costly out‐of‐pocket expense. This need was brought to our attention after the death of a warrior who left behind a family with a three‐year-old toddler, an 18-month-old infant, and a widow who was seven months pregnant. Studies show the importance of an early, structured education; the benefits are higher intelligence, better school enrollment, grades, behavior, and health; and higher levels of achievement later in life. It was noted inequality that begins before kindergarten lasts a lifetime; children who don’t get formal schooling until kindergarten start off a year behind in math and verbal skills and never catch up. The ‘left behind’ kids are more likely to end up in lower‐paying jobs.

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The Special Operations Fund is one of the first organizations called upon by casualty assistance officers when a Joint SOF Warrior is killed or dies on Active Duty. The only qualification for the Fund’s assistance is the highest one of all —a parent killed in the line of duty while serving their country.
The Fund provides a scholarship of up to $20,000 per academic year, per student. Since its inception in 1992 through 2019, the Special Operations Fund has granted over $14 million in scholarships and financial assistance. Hundreds of lives have been changed through educational grants that enable spouses and children of fallen warriors to pursue their higher educational goals.
Since 2001, ongoing deployments around the world have resulted in dramatic increases in the number of eligible recipients. The Special Operations troops and their families remain our concern. Their service and sacrifice over the past 18 years are unprecedented in our Nation’s history. The Fund remains committed to providing support to those who have paid the ultimate price.

“No one in my entire life has been there for me and been as understanding, forgiving, encouraging and motivational as the SOFund has been to me. All in all you guys have again and again gone above and beyond for me. Having the degree opens so many doors for so many different career choices and paths because it’s almost impossible to support oneself, much less a family, on a minimum wage salary. I won’t have to perform heavy duty manual labor anymore either, just to earn decent wages. The quality of my life will be increased and forever changed.” – Christine

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Gold Star Daughter



In recognition of President Emeritus SEAL Captain Rick Woolard’s concern that unmarried fallen Joint SOF Warriors be remembered, in 2018 the Fund established the Captain Rick Woolard Scholarship.  This memorial scholarship may be used at the discretion of the fallen Joint SOF Warrior’s parents in a way they feel most appropriately celebrates and commemorates their son’s or daughter’s life.

“Nick loved to wrestle.  I can still remember how loud my voice carried throughout this field house in support of Nick.  It is only fitting that we honor Nick at his high school with this Special Operations Fund grant for the new wrestling mat and warm-ups.  Our family wants to thank you for making this happen here today and for your continued compassion and support.”  – Sharon

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Gold Star Mother



In 2012 we began a partnership with Phillips Exeter Academy Summer School, Exeter, NH, by identifying military dependents eligible for their summer school program. Tuition (approximately $10,000) is provided by the SOFund to support high school sophomores, and juniors to participate in this life‐changing, five‐week summer experience at Exeter. Exeter is based on the Harkness education system, a conference format of student interaction with minimal teacher involvement.

“I loved my time at Exeter!  It’s one of the best summers I’ve ever had, and I honestly didn’t want to leave!   I made great friendships and learned so much from both my peers and teachers.  I feel that I gained a lot from their method of Harkness, which took some getting used to, but I found myself enjoying it.  Exeter helped open up a different world for me.”   – Abby

Exeter Scholars


In 2011 the Scowcroft Scholar Program was started in recognition of Lieutenant General (USAF Ret.) Brent Scowcroft’s. His foreign policy skills, critical advice and counsel to three Presidents helped guide our nation through many turbulent and dangerous times. The purpose of this program is to identify and support the next generation of leaders as they prepare themselves for service to our country. The scholarship provides $10,000 a year for four years. Our scholars are enrolled or have attended institutions such as Duke, Yale, Vassar, University of Vermont, Brown, UNC‐Chapel Hill, Duquesne, University of Kansas, Pennsylvania, Liberty, Appalachian State, and Wellesley.

“My time at Duke has been immensely rewarding and introduced me to options which would not have been possible without your support and for that I am incredibly grateful.” – Shannon

Scrowcroft Scholars
Scrowcroft Scholars


In 2017 the David C. Miller, Jr. Scholarship was established for a current college student.  $5,000 is awarded for a summer internship, work, or study internationally.

“During my stay in South Africa as a Miller Scholar, I learned more academically, emotionally, and spiritually in those few weeks than any time in my life.” – Hollis


In 2015 we launched David C. Miller, Jr. Fellowship. This Fellowship provides college graduates up to $20,000 for up to two years, to study, work, or participate in charitable activities abroad. Fellows have served in Nepal working on a clean water project and in Zambia working with the medical team.

“My life has changed so much because of this opportunity.”


Education is the common denominator for success, but after graduation from high school, the traditional four-year college model may not always be a good fit for our students as they plan for their future. The VOTECH Scholarship provides students with an opportunity to compete for merit-based scholarships to support their studies at vocational schools, technical institutions, and community colleges. The purpose of this program is to identify and support the next generations of skilled workforce leaders as they prepare themselves for the future.

“As I leave school and enter the world to pursue my vocation, I will never forget the kindness of friends, known and unknown, who believed in my father’s mission, honored his sacrifice, and provided for his children’s college education.” – Diana


Since 2004 the Special Operations Fund has provided educational grants for merit‐based scholarships awarded by the Unit Scholarship Fund, Fort Bragg, NC; the Night Stalker Foundation, Fort Campbell, KY; The Rangers Scholarship Fund, Fort Benning, GA; the Navy SEAL Foundation, Virginia Beach, VA; and The Association (USAF), Fort Bragg, NC; and Vigilant Torch Foundation, Springfield, VA.


“Without the Fund’s generous support, we would not have been able to award as many scholarships this year to those deserving children and spouses.”


Red Hat Shelton Challenge cultivates tomorrow’s leaders through values-based leadership programs for rising 9th-12th graders. The core curriculum of this summer program is based on General Shelton’s five values related to leadership: honesty, integrity, diversity, social responsibility, and compassion. This is a six-day residential program where participants will be housed on North Carolina State University campus in Raleigh, North Carolina.



In 2017 the Special Operations Fund partnered with a local military unit to provide learning ability testing if not covered by government medical insurance (psychological testing for academic placement does not qualify). Having an official diagnosis often opens up funding and opportunities from the school system and the state.

“I feel I am now empowered with the information needed to provide my son a fighting chance.  He was teased at school and called stupid but with test results, it has helped my son realize he is not stupid, but he knows he has challenges that hinder his ability to learn.  What is truly amazing is the positive effect that assessment and the doctor has on my son.”