Each June, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless awards $2,500 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, as well as CCH youth leaders and former youth clients.
To showcase the promise and tenacity of students who coped 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.
In 2019, 20 scholarship recipients have graduated with bachelor’s degrees, 43% of the students eligible to do so. This compares well per a national study that showed just 11% of students from the lowest income bracket ($34,160 or lower) had earned a bachelor’s by age 24 (University of Pennsylvania and Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, 2016).
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 or Foundation Relations and Media Director Anne Bowhay.