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Making More Possible

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Fund a Need

Fund a Need enables KFI to support projects, programs and scholarships:

  • for needs beyond established temporarily restricted funds
  • the resources to top off current temporarily restricted funds
  • administrative expenses
  • funds for new initiatives

Fund a Need is unrestricted, with oversight provided by Kodai Friends International.

KFI Global Citizen Scholarship

Initiated by Kodai Woodstock International, the KFI Global Citizen Scholarship fund was established during Kodaikanal International School’s (KIS) centennial year celebrations and has grown over the years to provide scholarships to a number of students. Recipients of the KFI Global Citizen Scholarship meet the school’s admissions requirements, have financial need and are recommended by KIS.

The KFI Global Citizen Scholarship fund is temporarily restricted with oversight provided by Kodai Friends International.

Russell De Valois Scholarship

The Kodaikanal International School Class of 1943 established the Russell De Valois Scholarship in memory of their classmate. Russell graduated from KIS in 1943 and went on to earn his Ph.D. in Physiological Psychology from the University of Michigan. He joined the faculty at Indiana University in Bloomington where his work on color vision became widely known and led to his election to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the USA’s highest scientific honors. In 1968 Russell joined the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, where he continued his research on color vision and also began studying the perception of spatial information and how it is analyzed and encoded in the brain.

Russell died on 20 September 2003 as a result of a car accident that occurred during his return to California from the 60th reunion of his KIS graduation. Russell (76) lapsed into a coma and died ten days later in Salt Lake City, Utah. His wife, Karen, was also injured in the accident and recovered fully.

The Russell De Valois Scholarship is offered every other year to a student entering grade 11 for the duration of his/her study at KIS to graduation at the end of grade 12. Criteria established to award the scholarship to the most deserving candidate include:

  • preference is given to applicants with a family income that is not sufficient to cover all education related expenses at KIS
  • excel academically and have an outstanding character
  • contribute to public service, artistic and/or athletic life of the school
  • show a will to succeed, determination and perseverance in the face of challenges
  • exhibit leadership qualities
  • participate in volunteer, community, and school-related activities
  • show critical thinking ability
  • must be an Indian citizen
  • eligibility is independent of gender and religion

The award may cover costs up to full KIS tuition and boarding charges at the rate charged by KIS for not more than two years per scholarship recipient.

The Russell De Valois Scholarship fund is temporarily restricted with oversight provided by Kodaikanal International School.

Marilyn Scudder Scholarship

The Kodaiakanal International School Class of 1956 established the Marilyn Scudder Scholarship in her memory. Other family and friends have also given generously.

Marilyn, whose parents were medical missionaries in Kuwait, attended KIS from 1947 to 1956. While at Kodai she not only did well academically, but excelled in sports and music. She earned her M.D. degree from the University of Michigan and was the first female ophthalmology resident at the University of Minnesota. In her final year of residency, she spent time at the Mvumi Hospital in Tanzania which paved the way for the rest of her life. From 1973 to 2001 she was a missionary ophthalmologist at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center in Moshi, Tanzania and at Mvumi Hospital. In addition to providing very competent and compassionate care as an eye surgeon, she trained medical officers, ophthalmic nursing officers, ophthalmic opticians, medical assistants, and nurses. A life-long friend and fellow ophthalmologist wrote that “Marilyn’s life was a life of giving and living joyfully. She treated every patient with respect and the highest competency no matter how high or low their station.” She received several awards that recognized her outstanding life and work. These included the Distinguished Alumni Award from Hope College and the Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

The Marilyn Scudder Scholarship is a partial scholarship that has been given each year since 2014/15. The scholarship will continue as long as funds are available. Recipients will meet the following criteria:

  • any KIS student in grades 9 to 12 with financial difficulty
  • female or male and of any nationality or religion
  • be of exemplary character and show academic potential

In selecting the recipient, the KIS Scholarship Committee considers the qualities of Marilyn’s life as demonstrated during her time at the school as well as in her life work.

The Marilyn Scudder Scholarship fund is temporarily restricted with oversight provided by Kodai Friends International.

Keith DeJong Music Award and Scholarship

The name Keith DeJong is synonymous with music. While in Kodai as a student, Keith excelled in the music program at Kodai School and graduated with his class in 1949. Kodai School provided a strong foundation for his professional career and welcomed his return in 1957, along with his wife Marcine and their first of four children. Keith taught music lessons to many students over the years. He directed the Band, Choir, and many ensembles. Keith’s beautiful tenor voice could stand alone in a solo, or blended with others, rewarding all within listening distance, and Marcine was known by all Sunday School kids as a pianist with gusto.

Keith and Marcine were role models to the community, and their love of music continues through the legacy they left for Kodai School, making the following possible:

  • Two outstanding KIS grade 12 music students are awarded the DeJong Music Award of $750 (each) annually at Awards Assembly. They are selected by the KIS Music Department.
  • The DeJong Music Scholarship fund has been established at KIS for music students of any grade level who need financial assistance for music field trips sponsored by KIS and/or for an additional instrument lesson if not included in the basic school fees. This $1,500 scholarship is awarded annually to the school’s music department.

Not only does the DeJong family legacy live on through music, but Keith and Marcine gifted Kodai School with many more DeJongs! All four children and many grandchildren are KIS graduates: Garry ’74, Bruce ’77, Dorothy ’78, Jim ’80, Terah ’01, Hans ’04, Ketsa ’06, Leif ’09 and Andry ’11. Garry and Bruce also served on the staff at KIS at various times. Independently, each one has shared their musical talents and gifts with the school.

The Keith DeJong Music Award and Scholarship fund is temporarily restricted with oversight provided by Kodai Friends International.

Class of 1994 Endowed Scholarship

The Kodaikanal International School Class of 1994 has set a goal of $250,000 USD and is raising funds to establish an endowment to fund the Class of 1994 Endowed Scholarship. The Class of 1994 excelled academically, served others with their time and money, were actively involved in all aspects of KIS life including sports, music, drama, dance, religious life, social experience, peer leadership, and student government. Since Kodai, their success in their respective fields is only matched by their commitment to each other and KIS.

This four-year scholarship will be for full KIS tuition (annual fee) for up to four years beginning in grade 9, renewable annually. It will be available to an incoming freshman who has at a minimum attended KIS continuously for grades 6 to 8, is a boarding student with financial need and academic promise.  Preference will be given to applicants with a family income that is not sufficient to cover all education related expenses at KIS. Criteria for the scholarship include:

  • candidate should excel academically and have an outstanding character
  • should contribute to two or more of the following: music, social experience, peer leadership, student government, religious life, hiking, or athletic life of the school
  • show a will to succeed
  • determination and perseverance in the face of challenges
  • demonstrated leadership qualities
  • commitment to public service
  • active participation in volunteer, community, and school-related activities

Continuation of the scholarship will be contingent upon the performance of the candidate following an annual review.

The Class of 1994 Endowed Scholarship fund is temporarily restricted with oversight provided by Kodai Friends International.


At their 50th reunion, the Class of 1961 adopted the Archives as their class project picking up on the initial work begun by Betty Swavely Granner (’44 and former staff) and Lou Carman (former staff). It was a fitting project for the class; a number have family roots at Kodai that go back to the early 1900s. Over the past decade, the Class of 1961 have raised almost $10,500 USD and have enabled Kodaikanal International School to accomplish the following for the school’s Archives:

  • renovated two rooms dedicated to the Archives in the KMU
  • procured climate controlled display cases
  • installed two archival storage repositories
  • digitized and catalogued extensive archival materials
  • purchased archival storage materials
  • hired a full-time Archivist
  • renovated the KMU with a mezzanine that holds display cases
  • received and incorporated Dr Nora Mitchell’s (former staff) legacy collection
  • gathered, received and made available additional books authored by KIS alumni

KIS also welcomes archival materials. Please contact the Archivist at for further information.

The Archives fund is temporarily restricted with oversight provided by Kodai Friends International.

Maj StormoGipson Poondi Project

The Class of 1974 embraced the vision of building the Palani Environmental Education Center (PEEC) at Kodaikanal International School’s Poondi site. Creating a facility where community, Kodai students and other curious world learners can come together to engage in conversations about cloud forest sustainability, environmental protection, and the fragile eco-system of the Western Ghats, is a project the Class of 1974 is committed to making. It would be a fitting tribute to a cherished classmate who left the world too soon. The Maj StormoGipson Poondi Project fund was established in recognition of Maj’s love of the outdoors and her commitment to global sustainability efforts. Many members of the Class of 1974 share Maj’s enthusiasm for protecting the environment for the next generation.

The Maj StormoGipson Poondi Project fund is temporarily restricted with oversight provided by Kodai Friends International.

Matching Fund Challenge to Alumni in Classes 1996-2016

Support for our alma mater, Kodai School, comes in many forms and from many people. Here at Kodai Friends International, wonderful surprises appear in the mail box, conveyed through a phone call, or on screen. One such surprise landed on our plate in 2016. A gift with one string: that it be used where needed! Along with the string was the challenge: that it be matched by younger alumni thereby doubling the value!

Supportive, longstanding, loyal, committed alumni see the value of their Kodai experience. They want to ensure that KIS remains strong and possible and available for the next generation of Kodai kids, and their kids, for many years ahead. The reasons vary. Each Kodai experience is unique and formed in large part by the community. Lessons in the classroom abound. A myriad of learning opportunities happen at KIS beyond the classroom.

One of the values instilled in Kodai kids is that the contributions of students, staff, families, mission boards, alumni, parents, friends, agencies have helped KIS in many, many ways. Building Alumni Hall, mission properties given/sold to the school, scholarship funds, grants awarded, funding for projects, and oh so much more, are a few examples of the power of a giving supportive wider community.

Members of the Classes of 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016: help KFI double this gift so we can collectively have greater impact and meet a need!

The Matching Fund Challenge is temporarily restricted with oversight provided by Kodai Friends International.

Sandra Schoeninger Fitness Center

Corey Stixrud ’86, Parent, and Principal of KIS, wrote the following:

“Every alumni group that comes back to visit Kodai speaks of the many teachers they had that touched and shaped young lives, and it’s true that one of the strengths that KIS has possessed through the years is an abundance of caring and committed educators. A prime example of this love and commitment is Ms Sandy Schoeninger. ‘Auntie Sandy’ taught Physical Education (PE) at Kodai School/KIS from 1966 through 2001: that’s 35 years! I personally remember her teaching me to dance in grade 4 in the old gym (now Alumni Hall), as well as sitting in her loft in her Airlee Apartment for Teen Dimensions on numerous occasions. Indeed, Ms Schoeninger taught generations of Kodai kids (primarily girls) the fundamental aspects of sports, fitness, teamwork, and lifelong learning, and so, so much more. Her contribution to our school over the years is beyond measure, and we’d like to honor Sandy as we begin planning and designing the Sandra Schoeninger Fitness Center on Highclerc Campus … so that future generations of KIS students will continue to associate fitness and well-being with Ms Schoeninger!”

The Sandra Schoeninger Fitness Center fund is temporarily restricted with oversight provided by Kodai Friends International.

Social and Environmental Learning

Everyday issues. The reality of people in the Kodaikanal community. The problems they face and the available resources. These are some of the issues that Kodai people are faced with, including:

  • cooking over open fires in their homes without proper ventilation
  • remote areas with no access to electricity
  • increased populations bring increased garbage and waste
  • water scarcity
  • human populations encroaching wildlife habitats

These issues impact everyone in Kodai and the surrounding communities. Students engage in learning and problem solving through action and service. The Social & Environmental Education Experience department continues to have a life altering impact on the lives of students and their action is seen in the community. They have made a difference! Through the generosity of alumni and friends of KIS their donations have enabled:

  • solar panels on watchmen houses at Poondi (Class of 1966)
  • smokeless stoves installed in many homes in and around Kodai (Minnesota Chapter)
  • recycling awareness and equipment provided to local schools (Minnesota Chapter and the Camp Kirchenwald reunion)
  • tsunami relief supplies and temporary shelters were built (Kodai School students and staff)

The Social and Environmental Learning fund is temporarily restricted with oversight provided by Kodai Friends International.