It’s widely accepted that a post-secondary education is the surest path to better jobs and a higher standard of living. Funding that education, however, has historically been a struggle for many local students as St. Joseph County continues to struggle with high rates of generational poverty and median household incomes below both state and national averages.
The new 21st Century Success Fellowship seeks to address this struggle by dramatically increasing the number of local low-income students attending, and completing, their college educations through the state-funded 21st Century Scholars program. Fellowships under the program cover up to 100% of tuition and fees at in-state, public, two and four-year colleges, or an equivalent amount applied towards attendance at private schools. In addition to the financial awards, fellowship recipients would be regularly engaged in valuable learning experiences designed to develop their leadership, professional, and personal skills.
The Community Foundation applied for the leadership grant to help endow this fellowship believing it would correspond with our (JLF) mission of increasing local educational opportunities and promoting economic development in the community. Our board, agreeing that the request met our mission objectives and expressing their belief in the additional value of the skills development component, approved the funding of this grant.