GRPS, GRCF Announce Fundraising Campaign For Scholarship Program

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (May 6, 2014) — Grand Rapids Public Schools and the Grand Rapids Community Foundation announced the fundraising campaign for the Challenge Scholars program.

The program provides big opportunities for 6th graders from Harrison Park Elementary and Westwood.

All 137 students face the positive outlook of having a college scholarship upon graduating from Union High School in 2020.

“We’ve already started putting coaches in place, having contracts, creating a college-going culture,” Teresa Weatherall Neal, GRPS superintendent said.

Neal explained that it’s a contract among parents, students and the district to commit to excellence.
Tuesday’s event took place at Ford Fieldhouse at Grand Rapids Community College.

The fundraising campaign is called Challenge Scholars “Rise With Us.” Leaders said the Challenge Scholars program targets an area of the school district where there is chronic poverty and low academic achievement.

“This program is transformative,” Kate Pew Walters, of the Steelcase Foundation said.

“[The program] provides a clear path for students who will be the first in their families to complete post-secondary education. We believe that investing in these students is investing in the future of Grand Rapids,” Pew Walters continued.

Community leaders announced 32 million dollars is the goal, and more than 26 million dollars has been raised so far.

“We’re going to raise that 5 million and then some,” Diana Sieger, president of GRCF said.

“I really want to prove in several years that this really is something worthy of spreading beyond,” Sieger added.

Neal said, “Whatever we learn from this particular program, the Challenge Scholars, we can then take that information across the district and although we’re starting here with the westside’ we are going to take it across.”

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