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Chicago City Council offshoot offering scholarships to Latino youth

Since launch in 2017, 66 students have earned $330,000

By Dave Fidlin, March 11, 2020 3:38 pm

The goal is simple, yet has been far-reaching, organizers say. Several years ago, the Chicago Latino Caucus Foundation launched a one-time scholarship for Hispanic and Latino high schoolers looking to transition into higher education.

Since its initial rollout, the foundation has awarded 66 total one-time scholarships, each at $5,000, or a total of $330,000. The goal, according to an announcement from the foundation, is to make the scholarships available to “well-deserving youth.”

A few of 2019’s scholarship recipients, including one with a truly excellent bow tie. (Chicago City Council Latino Caucus)

The foundation, an offshoot of the Chicago City Council’s 12-member Latino Caucus, raises the funds for the scholarships on its own accord, Executive Director Sonia Del Real said. All city council members on the caucus serve as board members of the foundation.

The scholarship program, Del Real said, has been well received since its rollout and has helped in providing a launch pad for local students looking to embark on the next chapter of their lives.

“We have awarded three waves of applications and are opening up our fourth wave to applicants,” Del Real told Chicago Mundo Hoy in an email interview. The goal, she said, is to offer the scholarships to as many qualifying students as possible each go-around, with no set number in place. “We are averaging 20 awards per year,” she added.

The goal, according to Del Real and others within the foundation, is to offer flexibility with the scholarships. Recipients, for example, can apply the funds to a 2- or 4-year accredited college or university of a student’s choice.

But the organization does have a number of requirements in place as well, including a provision students be at least one-half Hispanic or Latino. “Hispanic/Latino is an ethnic category, not a racial category; students may be of any race,” a qualifier in the list of requirements states.

To receive the funds, recipients also must reside in Chicago, graduate this year with a high school diploma or GED and have at least a 3.0 out of 4.0 grade-point average. U.S. citizenship is not a requirement of receiving the foundation scholarships.

The application deadline for the current scholarship round is Friday, April 10. Full details are available here.

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