Harry Hecht Family Memorial College Scholarship

Recognizing the difficulties many parents face when trying to finance their children’s college education, the Hecht Fund was endowed with a generous gift to the Jewish Community Foundation. Since 1997, The Fund has given scholarships to over 70 deserving Jewish high school seniors in preparation for college.

The Harry Hecht Family Memorial College Scholarship Fund was established by Harry Hecht in memory of his son Richard who died of cancer in January 1996 and his wife Norma who died from complications of diabetes in February 2000. The creation of the Fund is a tribute to both of them and a way to memorialize their lives in the community.

How to apply

The application process is now open for students beginning their college freshman year in the fall of 2024. Applications and accompanying documents and materials for Fall 2024 must be received by 11:59 PM on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.

Contact Jen Vettrus at 414-390-5722 with questions or to be updated when applications are being accepted.


  • Applicants must apply during their senior year of high school. If applicants delay college, they should apply in March of the calendar year they will begin college. Awards for winners will be directed to their college/university to be applied to tuition for their freshman year of college.
  • Applicants must be in the process of applying or accepted to a full-time, accredited undergraduate program in the U.S.
  • Applicants must be residents of the Milwaukee metropolitan area.

Other Information

  • Scholarships in the amount of $5,000 will be awarded to Jewish students who have distinguished themselves academically, through community service, and have demonstrated financial need.
  • The scholarships are awarded on a one-time basis.
  • Applicants for the Harry Hecht Family Memorial College Scholarship Fund are also automatically considered for the Evelyn & Ben Breitman Education Endowment Fund and the Marcus & Rita Wohlfeiler Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Who is Harry Hecht?

Harry Hecht

The Harry Hecht Family Memorial College Scholarship Fund seeks to make an impact in the lives of Jewish families with financial need through a one-time scholarship, preferably to a Wisconsin University.

Harry faced many challenges and found himself depending on the kindness of the Jewish community to help his family meet their needs. He tried his hand at many businesses and eventually became successful with a business then known as Hecht Mfg. Harry never forgot the lean years and later in life he sought to pay the generosity he received forward.

This scholarship was established by Harry Hecht, a young Polish immigrant who journeyed alone to the United States in 1928 when his mother Sarah, died.

Today the Hecht Family Scholarship Committee continues Harry’s mitzvah. We seek to assist Jewish candidates in Milwaukee who show a commitment to their communities through volunteer work, involvement in Jewish and secular organizations, solid academic achievement, and who demonstrate a desire to succeed and bring their talents back to their communities to continue Harry’s vision.

Harry Hecht with his three sons

Harry struggled to help his son Richard attend the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater and later Madison. We believe in Wisconsin schools and in keeping our dollars and talent in Wisconsin communities. For that reason, we may prioritize applicants attending Wisconsin schools.

Hard work was a cornerstone of Harry’s life. He worked nonstop as an immigrant child until his own retirement in his eighties. While community service is an important part of what the Hecht Family Scholarship Committee looks for, we recognize that for some families an outside job is more than a character builder, it’s a necessity, and for this reason work histories will also be valued.

The Hecht Family and the Jewish Federation invite all interested high school seniors who feel this touches them to apply to continue Harry’s legacy.

Recipient Stories

Hope Merens

Hope Merens, a student from Nicolet High School, received a scholarship from the Hecht Family Memorial College Scholarship Fund in 2014. Today, Hope has graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Master’s Degree in Chemistry and a Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry and is now pursuing her doctorate degree in the field of molecular science with an emphasis on neuroscience at Harvard University.

Lauren Stein

Lauren was born in Ukraine, and at the age of 3, she was adopted and came to the United States. At 8, she was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD. Lauren has worked hard to overcome her learning disability, and in 2019, graduated from Nicolet High School and received a scholarship from the Hecht Family Memorial College Scholarship Fund. She attends UW-Whitewater, and after graduation, Lauren hopes to be an animator and illustrator creating cartoons featuring people with disabilities who overcome their challenges.