MaryEllen Locher Scholarship Fund Established at CHI Memorial Foundation

MaryEllen Locher

MaryEllen Locher


CHI Memorial Foundation and The MaryEllen Locher Scholarship Foundation are pleased to announce they have joined together. The CHI Memorial Foundation will take over all daily operations of the Scholarship Foundation, including, but not limited to, the application process, fundraising efforts, receiving donations, and disbursement of scholarship funds. 

The MaryEllen Locher Scholarship Fund at CHI Memorial Foundation is a college scholarship program for children who have either lost a parent to breast cancer, have a parent who is a breast cancer survivor, or have a parent who is currently in treatment. The organization was founded as an independent nonprofit in 2002 by MaryEllen Locher, a long-time news anchor and health reporter for WTVC in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  She started the foundation during her own battle with breast cancer because she was concerned about her own son’s future education and did not want other parents to share that concern while they were in the midst of their own struggles with this disease.  MaryEllen passed away in 2005 after her third bout with cancer. 

“Many supporters did not realize there was a difference between the MaryEllen Locher Scholarship Foundation and the MaryEllen Locher Breast Center at CHI Memorial Hospital,” explains Jennifer Nicely, CHI Memorial Foundation president.  “By joining together, we will eliminate that confusion and further strengthen the fundraising efforts for both entities, as the CHI Memorial Foundation will be the sole entity raising funds for both efforts.  It will also ultimately result in greater financial assistance for Chattanooga-area college students who have been affected by breast cancer.”

The MaryEllen Locher Scholarship Fund at CHI Memorial Foundation has awarded more than 500 scholarships totaling $912,000 over the past 18 years. The awards are designed to ease the financial and emotional burdens faced by families dealing with breast cancer. 

“Over the last 18 years, I have watched my mother’s dream grow into something I know would make her extremely proud.  This should not be seen as the end of the MaryEllen Scholarship Foundation, but rather the beginning of a great new opportunity to expand on my mother’s mission to help even more families affected by breast cancer,” shares Alex Burd, MaryEllen Locher’s son.

Funds for the scholarships are raised through special events, individual donations, corporate sponsorships, and private grants.  The CHI Memorial Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and all contributions made to the MaryEllen Locher Scholarship Fund are tax-deductible.

The application window for the 2021-2022 scholarships recently closed, and recipients will be announced later this Spring.

For more information on the MaryEllen Locher Scholarship Fund at CHI Memorial Foundation, visit

Online donations to the MaryEllen Locher Scholarship Fund can be made at Checks can be mailed to CHI Memorial Foundation, 2525 deSales Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37404. Please make a notation to direct to the MEL Scholarship Fund on the memo line of check.