Each June, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless awards renewable college scholarships to graduating high school seniors who succeeded in school despite coping personally with homelessness.
Students from Chicago and suburban schools are eligible to apply as well as CCH youth leaders and former youth clients.
CCH announced its 2020 scholarship winners in June, seven new high school graduates from Chicago, Joliet, and Tinley Park.
We also celebrated an increase in student awards, to $3,500 a year, thanks to support from long-time donors and a substantial new gift in memory of Jill Meinzer.
The usual late June awards event was cancelled this year due to safety concerns during the continuing pandemic. Instead, we celebrate our new winners and college graduates online this year, with plans to gather in June 2021 to honor our 2020 and 2021 winners.
To showcase the promise and tenacity of students who cope with homelessness, the CCH Law Project created a scholarship program in 2004. It was the next step for a legal aid program that focuses its casework on helping homeless students and unaccompanied youth. Patricia Rivera, then director of the Chicago Public Schools’ Homeless Education Program, collaborated with CCH in creating the scholarship, and was the first private donor to support the scholarships.
By 2020, 26 scholarship recipients graduated with bachelor’s degrees, 50% of those eligible to do so. This compares to a national study that shows 40% of first generation students in the lowest income bracket earned a bachelor’s from a four-year school within six years (University of Pennsylvania and Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, 2020).
CCH scholarships are funded by private donors and several groups: Associated Bank, Sisters of Charity, BVM; Jill L. Meinzer Scholarship Fund; The Osa Foundation and Robin Lavin; Susan W. Pearson Memorial Fund; and the Student Alliance for Homeless Youth. The program also benefited by early grants from the Alvin H. Baum Family Fund and a $10,000 challenge grant from Elaine’s Hope, funded by the late educator Rhonda Purwin.
For more information, contact Intake Specialist Christy Savellano.