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Legacy Collective for Chicago Scholars Foundation

Legacy Collective for Chicago Scholars Foundation

Chicago, Illinois, United States
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About this Fundraiser

Initiative Description:

At Chicago Scholars, we believe that education is social justice and we believe that success shouldn’t be determined by zip code or economic status. Without strong supports and resources, many of Chicago’s first generation or low-income youth would not navigate the road of selecting and getting to the right college well. A widely held belief that college is the finish line, has resulted in Scholars graduating with little to no work experience, setting them on a pathway to underemployment when entering the working world and thusly, increasing the racial wealth gap.

Chicago Scholars offers a unique 7-year, holistic program with a proven match-fit algorithm as the foundation to students who have demonstrated leadership and are committed to furthering their education. Our mission is to uniquely select, train, and mentor academically ambitious students from under-resourced communities to complete college and become the next generation of leaders who will transform their neighborhoods and our city. We serve as a leadership incubator that empowers students, who are often first in their families to attend college, to overcome systematic barriers while preparing the city's businesses and organizations for the next generations of leaders. We begin working with students the summer after their junior year of high school and support them through critical transitions to and through college, and into their careers. Our curriculum includes individualized college counseling, career coaching, internship opportunities, and leadership skill development.
Chicago Scholars has served over 5,000 youth and there are over 4,200 Scholars in college, high school, and careers across the city of Chicago and the country coming from all 77 neighborhoods in the city. Scholars, corporate and college partners, staff, and Board are recruited to reflect the city’s racial diversity with an emphasis on the most historically underserved students.

The dual pandemic has increased the social, emotional, financial, college and career planning needs of our students. This grant would support key priorities from our strategic plan including the deepening of current supports and development of the Scholar Portal which is an innovation to program delivery that will allow us to more effectively and efficiently serve high school Scholars in a virtual environment as well as the thousands of Scholars at colleges across the country with career exploration and professional development activities.

Initiative Impact:

Chicago Scholars envisions a vibrant Chicago empowered by diverse leaders form every neighborhood. To move toward long-term impact, our 7+ year program model is structured around achieving three, 5-10 year outcomes: 1) Scholars are leaders and influencers; 2) Scholars are matriculating to, persisting and graduating from college; and 3) Scholars are earning competitive salaries for their roles. Chicago Scholars’ Theory of Change is grounded in the belief that student outcomes are best maximized when we work simultaneously to change student behaviors (Prepare Scholars for the World) along with the policies, supports, and practices of the colleges where students enroll, and ultimately the companies or organizations where they will work (Prepare the World for Scholars).

As a result of our college access programming, we expect that Scholars enroll and matriculate to the most selective colleges that match/fit their interests and abilities. Currently, and even in the pandemic, 93% of Scholars matriculate to college. With access to our network of resources and supports, Scholars are 6 times more likely than their peers to graduate from college and 83% of Chicago Scholars graduate within 6 years. We strategically partner with colleges (200+) that are a good fit for first generation and low-income students and our Platinum Partners (39 colleges) provide all unmet financial need for Scholars. We ensure that students attend a good financial-fit school to reduce the amount of college debt incurred.

A priority focus for our career work is to ensure every Scholar has an internship in college. Research has demonstrated two key points a) an internship in college can dramatically increase the chance for a good job upon graduation, and b) the first job after graduation is critical to career success overall. Graduates who had an internship during college were more than twice as likely to have a good job waiting for them upon graduation (42%) compared to graduates who didn’t have an internship (20%). (Gallup, 2017). The Scholar Portal will increase Scholar engagement and overall Scholar outcomes, especially for those in colleges around the country who need to connect with employers and job boards for experiential opportunities.

Initiative Sustainability:

This investment would be leveraged to help us develop the Scholar Portal, an online platform that will increase efficiencies of delivering supports and trainings to Scholars across the country as well as create platforms for revenues through advertising. We are optimistic that in 2-3 years, the platform will pay for itself through earned revenue. We roughly estimate earning about $100,000 annually in ads and corporate licenses (a career search tool for corporate partners to access portal and recruit students) through the portal.

Additionally, the Legacy Collective grant would allow us to satisfy and solicit additional match-grant opportunities. Chicago Scholars is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2021 and one of the campaign pillars is Innovation and Technology. With an investment from Legacy Collective, we would see greater interests from our current funders to also invest in the initiative. Per our strategic plan and with the investment in building out our development resources (people and systems), we have developed a strategy to diversify and grow revenue systems. Other efforts that allow us to focus on our core include: 1)Strengthening organizational culture, engagement, support and retention – this allows us to ensure continuity of information and relationships which positively impacts donor relations and 2)Improve data quality and use in programs and operations – stronger data collection and program evaluation allows us to tell a positive upward trend in Scholar outcomes and identify areas that are high-stakes areas of opportunity (such as internships for all). All of these factors will allow us to continue to sustain and grow the impact of the Legacy Collective grant.

Location: Chicago, IL, USA

Total Funding Requested: $25,000

Funding Date Requirement: 4/30/2021

Prior Funding Through Legacy Collective: None

Nonprofit Name: Chicago Scholars

Nonprofit Website:

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Chicago Scholars 0
Chicago, IL, US
We uniquely select, train, and mentor academically ambitious students from under-resour...
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Legacy Collective
Austin, TX, US

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Chicago, Illinois, United States

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Legacy Collective for Chicago Scholars Foundation

by Legacy Collective 100 Lives Impacted Chicago, Illinois, United States

Initiative Description:At Chicago Scholars, we believe that education is social justice and we believe that success shouldn’t be determined by zip ...

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