Local man takes reins of major scholarship fund

Longtime musician David Bach never meant to become a chief operating officer of a company.

"None of us wake up going 'I want to be an administrator one day,'" laughed the Lynnhurst resident and former trumpet teacher at downtown's MacPhail Center for the Arts. "You can't plan everything," he noted.

Bach is the newly appointed COO of Scholarship America - and planning is exactly what he's charged with.

Scholarship America says it is the nation's largest private-sector scholarship organization. Bach will oversee some $147 million in college scholarship funds, generated by the Minneapolis-based group's national volunteer network and by private companies.

Because of state and national education cuts and tuition increases, Bach said he must grow the scholarship fund by increased organizational efficiency and strategic outreach.

Before his Dec. 1 promotion, Bach served as the organization's vice president of community programs. He came to Scholarship America in 1996 as director of its ScholarShop program, which helps youth in grades 4-12 decide whether college is a good choice for them, and, if so, where they should go and for what they should prepare.

Bach said underprivileged youth often assume that college isn't for them. He said many who went through the ScholarShop program were surprised to find out that the things they might even be embarrassed about (such as being a bookworm) can have big benefits after high school graduation.

Bach's wife, Narissa, teaches piano. They have two daughters; one currently studies at McGill University in Canada and the other attends college and works part-time ("doing all sorts of interesting things") in California.

"She's an artist," Bach said, and promised that he didn't pressure her to attend school full-time when she came home for the holidays this year.

For more information on Scholarship America, log onto www.scholarshipamerica.org.