Our Program

The Program

In 1974, Third Unitarian Church established an annual awards program to provide financial assistance to Austin High School seniors (now Austin area seniors) in their first year of college with one $500 award. By 2020, we progressed to $1,500 with $500 for three semesters of successful college (degree) coursework towards a two-year (A. A. or A. S.) or a four-year (B. A. or B. S.) program. Please see guidelines below.

It was based on the belief that even one high school graduate attending college can uplift an entire family.  "Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today." by Malcolm X ~ "Education is the best provision for life's journey." by Aristotle ~ "Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom." by George Washington Carver


Awards are funded by contributions from Winnetka Congregational Church, Hinsdale Unitarian Church, Unity Temple UU Congregation, Third Unitarian Church, and many individual donors. Typically, 20 awards of $1,500 are awarded each year with unrestricted $500 given each semester based on successful completion of the past semester and registration in the next semester, excluding summer.  If your college is on the quarter system, $500 payments are made Fall and Winter quarters.


Scholars are expected to communicate with their designated college email address.  Scholars should take at least 12 hours of credits (or equivalent) per semester and maintain at least a C average.  Any F's will be subject to committee review and interpretation.  An unofficial transcript with personal information displayed serves as documentation for each semester's progress.  Students are also expected to have a checking account with the industry-standard Zelle® to foster financial management with their payments for unrestricted needs, such as books, supplies, equipment, fares, wardrobes, or room & board.  The Committee is here to work with scholars in special circumstances to overcome challenges and stay strong with college aspirations.  If indicated, the Committee can defer a payment for a semester and then resume payments, so the $1,500 would be earned over four semesters instead of three.

Committee Founders, 1974

Betty Harris, Retired Professor,

Harold Washington College

Eleanor Lukazewski

Hospital Pharmacy Director

Vivian Matthews, Librarian,

Austin High School

Donald H. Wheat, Minister

Third Unitarian Church

Earl Williams, Principal,

Austin High School

Roberta Wilson, Paraprofessional

Chicago Public Schools