Members of Proviso East High School's class of 2003 have started a scholarship fund designed to assist graduating seniors at the high school in ways that go beyond attending two- or four-year college.
The fund's founder, alum Vau've Davis, said, "I was intentional about making sure that this not only helps students who have plans to go to college, but also that it helps those who have other aspirations, like starting a business or going to trade school," said Davis, a philanthropic consultant.
Eligible students who don't plan on attending a two- or four-year institution must submit a plan for how they intend to use the funds.
"I created this for students to use the money as they need it but also as an opportunity for our class to give back," Davis said. "A lot of class of 2003 members are doing very well. This was an opportunity for us to do something as a whole."
So far, she said, donations to the fund have come from grassroots donors, but she hopes that changes soon, and that the fund can eventually attract more institutional financial support.
She said the class will give out at least one scholarship this year for at least $250 — whether or not more students receive scholarships and how much those will total depends on how much money the fund takes in.
Davis added that anybody — not just members of the class of 2003 — who wants to donate money to the fund can do so; however, seats on the scholarship fund's committee are only open to Proviso East class of 2003 graduates.
Applications are currently being accepted. The deadline for submitting an application is March 1. A winner will be notified by June 1. The scholarship is only open to Proviso East seniors.
Davis also explained that she and the current members of her scholarship committee, including Danielle Saleek and Jenise Davis, are open to helping Proviso East students in ways other than financial assistance.
"We're here to be a resource beyond the money," Davis said. "If students need assistance with professional development, mentoring and other things, we're here for that, too."
To get information on how to donate to the fund and/or sit on the fund's committee, email an inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.