2021 Fradkin Legacy Awards Honor Dollars for Scholars - Scholarship America

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2021 Fradkin Legacy Awards Honor Dollars for Scholars

By Matt Konrad

Higher education looks much different now than it did in 1958, when Dr. Irving Fradkin founded the community organization that would become Scholarship America—but our founder’s vision of community support for college is still powerful. 

To honor the 100th anniversary of Dr. Fradkin’s birth, Scholarship America created the Dr. Irving Fradkin Legacy Award program: four national awards presented to four of our volunteer-driven Dollars for Scholars affiliates, to recognize and expand their community-based scholarship work. To provide recognition for Dollars for Scholars organizations of all sizes and at all points in their history, awards include:

  • One $15,000 Student Support Award, to help a Dollars for Scholars initiate and/or expand student supports beyond scholarships.  
  • One $10,000 Renewable Scholarship Award to help a Dollars for Scholars initiate and/or expand a renewable, multi-year scholarship program.  
  • Two $2,500 Impactful Scholarship Awards to help two Dollars for Scholars expand their current scholarship programs by funding impactful awards of $1,000 or more.  

Today, we are proud to introduce the 2021 Fradkin Legacy Award recipients.

$15,000 Student Support Award: Excel Beyond 211 Dollars for Scholars, Illinois

Based in Cook County, Illinois, Excel Beyond 211 (EB211) Dollars for Scholars is dedicated to providing scholarships, mentoring and financial guidance to students and alumni of the high schools in Township High School District 211—part of the largest high school district in the state.

EB211 invests in college-ready, first-generation students from low-income families, aiming to increase their college successes and completion rates. Each year, 30 students are matched with 30 one-on-one mentors, who offer them college and career guidance to go along with the chapter’s scholarship opportunities. A community effort since its inception, EB211’s board and volunteers collaborate with the district’s high schools and nearby Harper College to help these students achieve their educational goals.

The organization plans to use their Student Support Award funding to “enhance career networking for mentees, and help cultivate relationships with community stakeholders.” Projects on the horizon include paid internships for qualifying mentees; programs and opportunities to learn more about professional and social networking opportunities; and community internship and alumni databases so past, present and future students can more easily find and connect with opportunities.

“Our donors include leaders in technology, health care, education, law and construction, and the new databases would help build relationships with local businesses and alumni to increase mentor volunteers, job opportunities and scholarship support,” say EB211 representatives—just the kind of community connection that Dr. Fradkin believed in so passionately.

$10,000 Renewable Scholarship Award: Burlington-Edison Education Foundation Dollars for Scholars, Washington

In existence since 1992, the Burlington-Edison Education Foundation‘s primary focus has been to create and fund local scholarships for graduates of Washington’s Burlington-Edison High School who are pursuing academic, technical or trade school degrees.

The organization applied specifically for the renewable scholarship award because of the unique demographics and support needs of their student base: “We want to expand our current renewable program to better support those who need this assistance the most.  B-E Education Foundation Dollars for Scholars serves a student population who are the first in their family to attend college; emancipated minors who are the sole financial provider for their education; and a large immigrant student population.”

These first-generation, immigrant and self-supporting students often find themselves earning scholarships and financial aid to get into college—but not enough to continue all the way to their degree. With the Fradkin Legacy Award Renewable Grant, B-E Education Foundation Dollars for Scholars will help their graduates not only enter college but complete college with a degree.

$2,500 Impactful Scholarship Award: Gettysburg Area Dollars for Scholars, Pennsylvania

Gettysburg Area Dollars for Scholars in Pennsylvania provides scholarships to graduating seniors planning to attend any accredited postsecondary educational institution—not just four-year colleges and universities, but also trade and technical institutes, community and junior colleges. 

“Our scholarships help students pursue careers in diesel mechanics, nursing, culinary arts, electronics, teacher education, social work, broadcasting, biology, art, computer science, auto maintenance, graphic arts, engineering, and much more,” say chapter representatives. “Gettysburg Area Dollars for Scholars money goes directly to where it is needed, paying a portion of today’s substantial educational costs so that more students can afford higher education.”

Traditionally, Gettysburg Area Dollars for Scholars has awarded $500 scholarships; the Fradkin Legacy Award grant will help them leverage fundraising donations to make sure that students don’t receive less than $1,000.

$2,500 Impactful Scholarship Award: South Dearborn Dollars for Scholars, Indiana

A South Dearborn High School guidance counselor and principal founded Indiana’s South Dearborn Dollars for Scholars thirty years ago. Since 1991, the mission of South Dearborn Dollars for Scholars has been to promote community service activities, help set academic goals and provide guidelines that will encourage students to reach for their postsecondary educational goals. 

The chapter plans to use their Fradkin Legacy Award to increase several current scholarships to at least $1,000, and as a seed to encourage donations and create new scholarships for students with financial need.

“We plan to use this grant to recruit individuals and businesses to start three new scholarships,” say chapter representatives. “We will match the grant to ensure the new scholarships are at least $1,000 award amounts.”

From impactful awards to renewable scholarships to student support, today’s Dollars for Scholars are carrying on the lasting, powerful legacy of our founder. We congratulate South Dearborn Dollars for Scholars, Gettysburg Area Dollars for Scholars, Burlington-Edison Education Foundation Dollars for Scholars and Excel Beyond 211 Dollars for Scholars: our 2021 Fradkin Legacy Award recipients.