In 2005, First Command Educational Foundation received a record-setting donation of $500,000 from the family of Carroll H. Payne, founder of First Command Financial Services and First Command Educational Foundation (FCEF). This largest single individual donation in FCEF history was added to $250,000 donated in previous years. These donations were all designated for FCEF’s permanent scholarship endowment, the Carroll H. Payne Scholarship Fund, which supports FCEF’s general scholarship program.
Carroll Herndon Payne was born on December 24, 1914, in the small town of Rusk, Texas. Growing up on a farm taught Carroll the value of hard work and gave him great strength and physical ability. Halfway through his last year in high school, the country was in the fourth year of the Depression. Carroll had to quit school and go to work to help support the family. He worked odd jobs and later started his own laundry service with $5. This was his first taste of capitalism. In 1941, with war imminent, he joined the U.S. Army. He spent his first nine years in the infantry and entered aviation cadet training shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. During the next fifteen years, Carroll began laying plans for the company he would start after retiring from military service.
In 1958, Carroll founded USPA&IRA, now known as First Command Financial Services, to deliver financial services to assist American military families in their efforts to build wealth, reduce debt, and pursue their lifetime financial dreams and goals. In 1983, he established FCEF to provide scholarships to ROTC cadets and the children of active duty, retired, and deceased U.S. service members. FCEF has since become independent and expanded its scholarship eligibility to include any person seeking a college/university degree or a professional certification, or attending a trade school.
Today FCEF’s mission is “to educate those who serve” through scholarships and financial readiness programs. The Carroll H. Payne Endowment has made it possible for FCEF to continue this mission and to honor Payne’s commitment and dedication to the well-being and financial success of American families for many years to come.
FCEF has created a toolkit of documents for First Command Financial Services Advisors, community partners, and applicants for the Carroll H. Payne Scholarship. Please click here to visit the toolkit.
Completion of Basic$4ALL (mobile) or Basic$4ALL (online) is required for scholarship applicants. Access to these programs is available on our Education Resources page.
Please click here to learn more about some of the recipients of the Carroll H. Payne Endowment/Scholarship.