Chicago Scholars

Back to all Grantees
  • Investment to Date $1.6M
  • Students Served 2,407
  • Grantee Since 2016
  • View Website


Chicago Scholars selects, trains, and mentors academically ambitious students from under-resourced communities to enroll in, persist and graduate from college. Chicago Scholars provides seven years of programming beginning with supporting scholars to enroll and matriculate to the most selective colleges that best match their abilities. Through its programming, the organization aspires to develop the next generation of leaders who will transform their neighborhoods and the city of Chicago.

Grantee Performance

Why We Invested

Chicago Scholars provides high-achieving, low-income students with development opportunities and mentoring to support them through key transitions on the path from high school to college to career. Of the 20 percent of Chicago Public School graduates who graduated with a 3.0 GPA or above in 2015, only 40 percent went on to enroll in a four-year college. Based on the three most recent years of data, 95 percent of Chicago Scholars enrolled in a four-year university over the last three years and 88 percent of those scholars earned a bachelor’s degree in six years, a rate far surpassing that of their low-income peers with similar academic credentials.

Looking Ahead

Chicago Scholars has demonstrated a commitment to increase its service capacity. Serving 2,407 students in FY18, Chicago Scholars is currently serving nearly 3,000 students in the 2018-19 school year. Chicago Scholars is currently revisiting its strategic plan as the organization charts its path for continuous impact over the next five years. A Better Chicago is encouraged by its track record to date, sizable addressable market and steady increase in applicants to the program.

Our Impact

  • President & Chief Operating Officer Search: Chicago Scholars hired Koya Leadership Partners to support search efforts for a President & Chief Operating Officer role to support its growing team. A Better Chicago helped scope the project, introduced Chicago Scholars to vetted consultants and covered 50 percent of the fees.
  • Program Strategy: Chicago Scholars hired a consultant to support its college to career programming development. A Better Chicago helped scope the project, introduced Chicago Scholars to vetted consultants, and covered 75 percent of the fees.
  • Leadership Development: Chicago Scholars’ leadership team is participating in Leading for Impact®, a cohort-driven leadership development program run by The Bridgespan Group. A Better Chicago is covering 50 percent of the fees.