Frequently asked questions
What is Love Forward?
Love Forward is a 501(c)(3) public charity that provides a higher education for students in developing countries who were orphaned, abandoned, or abused. Our program helps students to successfully transition out of custodial programs, such as orphanages and crisis centers, and realize their dreams and ambitions in life. Our program provides for most of our students' living and educational expenses while they live independently and complete their education.
How do students qualify for the Love Forward Scholarship and Transition Program?
Love Forward empowers those who are the most marginalized and vulnerable in our global society. Students are eligible if they come from backgrounds of extreme poverty and were separated from family due to death, abandonment, violence, or other circumstances. In most cases, the students previously lived in an orphanage, shelter, or other program that cared for them on a full-time basis. All of our students are referred to us by partner organizations who previously provided care for the students. Our partner agencies continue to support the students relationally while they complete their education with Love Forward.
Why does Love Forward place an emphasis on providing scholarships to women?
Love Forward decided to focus on providing scholarships to women because in the countries in which we work, the women who age-out of orphanages and similar programs are at the greatest disadvantage. Without continuing support and the opportunity to continue their education, they have fewer economic opportunities than the men and are at significant risk of gender-based violence and exploitation, which often relates to early, forced, or arranged marriages.
How can I learn more about gender-based violence in these countries?
You can learn more about the issues on our Global Gender Issues page.
What does a scholarship provide for students?
Each scholarship covers the student’s complete educational costs and living expenses while they pursue a post-secondary education at a local university or vocational school. After their first year, students are expected to engage in a combination of part-time employment, internships, and volunteer service as a way of contributing the costs of their education and giving back to their communities.
How much does a scholarship cost?
Costs vary widely depending on the country, the educational program, and a student’s individual circumstances. A typical scholarship ranges between $150 and $200 per month (USD).
How was Love Forward started?
Love Forward was founded by Robert Benson, who was severely neglected, abandoned, and abused growing up. Later in life, in parallel with his legal career, Robert established and operated children’s homes through another non-profit organization called Arms of Love International, which developed a similar program to help its graduating students pursue a higher education. The program of Love Forward is modeled on the Independent Living Program that Arms of Love launched in 2007 and which has seen significant success in transitioning students to their adult lives.
Does Love Forward have a track record of success?
Yes. The Love Forward program is based on a successful program that has helped more than 100 students pursue a higher education, over the past 10 years, after leaving the Arms of Love children’s homes. Building on this experience, Robert joined with graduates of Arms of Love scholarship program to establish Love Forward, with the goal of providing a higher education to students who age-out of other residential programs as well. Their personal stories are recounted in the book Love Forward: Hope, Healing, and Justice for a Broken World.
How can I buy a copy of the book, “Love Forward?”
Love Forward is sold through Amazon and other online retailers. Alternatively, make a donation and receive a signed copy of the book from its author and the founder of the Love Forward Scholarship and transition program, Robert Benson.
Where does Love Forward work?
Love Forward currently operates its programs nationally in Nicaragua and the Philippines and locally in Kolkata, India.
Do you have plans to expand to other countries?
Love Forward plans to launch a program in Afghanistan in 2019. Love Forward will evaluate expanding to other countries in future years.
What makes Love Forward different from other scholarship programs?
Love Forward partners with orphanages and other custodial programs to help students leaving those programs to pursue a further post-secondary education, regardless of their past academic record or success. Programs are customized to the abilities and aptitudes of each individual student. We know that each student can benefit from a continuing education during this critical period of transition in their lives and we see their potential to become compassionate influencers and leaders in their communities.
Why is Love Forward focused on supporting students internationally?
We view ourselves as part of a global community that is called to love and care for one another. Our calling to love others and empower those who are disadvantaged has no boundaries. By empowering those who are the most marginalized and disadvantaged at the furthest fringes of our global society, we collaborate with our students to create a new future for themselves, their families, and future generations. In the process, our actions draw people closer together across geographics, cultures, nationalities, and ethnicities.
Does my financial support have a greater impact in other parts of the world?
Yes. In the places where we work, a modest budget can provide a higher education for 10-30X more students than the cost of a private education for a single student in the U.S.
Does Love Forward support its students in ways that go beyond financial support?
Yes. Love Forward partners with local organizations that previously cared for our students and facilitates their ongoing involvement in the students’ lives through mentoring and emotional support. We plan to add new resources over time that will include additional counseling, tutoring, mentoring, and networking.
Are there opportunities to be involved beyond financial support?
Yes. If you are interested in connecting with a sponsored student that you can communicate with and encourage as they pursue their further education, please let us know and we will discuss this with you further.
How do I get involved?
To give a one-time or recurring donation, please fill out our online form. If you would like to support Love Forward in non-monetary ways by volunteering your time or serving as an advocate for our programs – or if you have any other questions – please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if my company wants to provide corporate dollars to your effort?
Love Forward is a section 501(c)(3) public charity that qualifies for corporate donations and matching donation programs. Please direct the appropriate person at your company to our donation page or ask them to contact us directly for additional information at email@example.com.