For DonorsFor Applicants

Giving Back to the Future Scholarship

Funded by
Picture of the donor
Demetrious Baylis
1st winner$923
2nd winner$922
Application Deadline
Mar 3, 2022
Winners Announced
Mar 28, 2022
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
African American
Volunteering Experience

Education is a valuable and life-changing tool that can determine one’s career prospects and future life. 

Unfortunately, access to education is still unequal, leaving many students of color behind. Disparities start as early as elementary school but are particularly prevalent in high school completion and college enrollment stats. While 66% of white 16 to 24-year-olds with a high school diploma enroll in college, only 56% of Black students of the same age do.

This scholarship aims to support African American undergraduate students who are dedicated to using their platform to give back to their community in some way after graduation.

Any undergraduate African American student who has volunteering experience and plans to give back to their community in some form in the future may apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, tell us about yourself and how you plan to give back to your community in a few years.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published December 8, 2021
Essay Topic

Please tell us a bit about yourself, why giving back is so important for our people, and how you plan to use your platform to give back to your community 3-5 years down the line.

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Joshua Chisolm
University of Southern CaliforniaIrvine, CA
There is no event that demonstrates humanity’s character and nature more than tragedy. The tragedy of war has exposed divisions in our society but has also represented the ability of humans to band together to fight a common cause. The war against the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed some clear divisions in our community, particularly on viewpoints towards pandemic-stopping measures, however, it has also shown that a section of the population is willing to give back to the less fortunate when the time comes so that we can all get through this pandemic together. While these efforts are valiant, so far they have not proven to be sufficient. A large sector of the community is still in a very poor socioeconomic situation. This situation was exacerbated by the pandemic, however, it was started from the poor environment that this sector grew up in. The power of technology could be a saving grace. I’ve always been intrigued by the potential of technology to be a beneficial force. That potential might not be apparent at the moment, but that’s not because our current technology isn’t sufficient to help people. It’s because current technology is not being wielded to help, but instead to make a profit. This is a severe misuse of our modern technology, and particularly of artificial intelligence. AI’s potential is boundless in certain applications, however, it is currently being used to spy on consumers and stuff the pockets of megacorporations. One of the biggest factors leading to the poor state a large sector of our community finds itself in is the lack of access to competent education. After completing my undergraduate degree in computer science, and my master's degree in artificial intelligence, I aim to create a start-up that uses the power of artificial intelligence to create an education platform that provides competent education to this sector. Through the use of artificial intelligence, this platform will create a tailored curriculum that targets gaps in one’s knowledge. To fill these gaps, this program will use high-quality study materials created by my own company with assistance from seasoned educators. This is a gap in the market that I want to fill, as I believe that everyone, regardless of skin color, gender, or economic background, deserves access to high-quality education. Giving back not only elevates the receiver but also the provider. By lifting up the less fortunate, we lift up our entire society and thus lead better lives. I think artificial intelligence is going to be a cornerstone of society in the future, but it’s up to us to determine whether it’s going to be used in a beneficial or negative way. With this scholarship benefit, I will be able to achieve my ultimate goal: helping those who are less fortunate.
Simone Braithwaite
Guilford CollegeNewark, NJ
In high school, I struggled with poverty, food insecurity, and housing insecurity. When it was difficult to get out of bed in the morning and I ran late for school when I was absent because I didn’t have transportation, or when I would come to school bruised, no one would say a word. I was marked with the scarlet letter of delinquency. I had to depend on myself for things adults in my life failed to provide for me. Being a Black girl was hard and when I turned 18, I made a promise to myself that I would never let anyone make me feel uncomfortable, unworthy, or unloved again. College for me means having the ability to give back to vulnerable communities. I have only been a Black woman for a year, but it has taught me that I don’t have to be helpless, that there is a community in kinship ties for me, and that I don’t have to be resilient to survive. I am a Community and Justice Studies major so I can go on to a Social Work master’s program and serve the Black children of color in my community after school programs, juvenile detention diversion programs, and developing a community for them. I committed to Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, and I was given a need-based scholarship from the Bonner Foundation, an organization that contributes to changing the status quo through community service. We are required to do 140 hours of service each semester and two summers of service as 240 hours for each. This was especially difficult, as I was admitted at the height of the pandemic. But, while the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a laundry list of health and political forms of destruction, it also made politicians and activists realize the fragility of neglected communities. It was this opportunity for me to help people from hundreds of miles away, that caused me to have the service outreach of those people my locational scope of community-building. I was able to serve multiple communities at once, including my home city. My educational career as a college student will provide me with the knowledge that I need to be a leader and a community organizer. The first service was working at the Guilford College Farm, where I picked and packaged organic fruits and vegetables. These are used to be sold at our farmers market, used in the salad bar of our cafeteria, and most importantly, to be used for our Crop Caravan. It is a program where we deliver and donate fresh food to homeless communities around Greensboro. It taught me the value of farm work and food justice, which led to my administrative role in the Food Justice Club at Guilford. We held meetings to teach people about food insecurity, food deserts, and programs that promote healthy food options in underserved communities. I also took training sessions to learn how I could be a better environmental activist for those who face food insecurity. After I took that role, I decided that since virtual service is efficient and effective for the time being, I decided to work at Science Park High School, my alma mater, as an assistant debate coach. There I taught advocacy and public speaking skills in an Urban Debate League, volunteering my time to help the 7-12th grade students understand policy and philosophy. My education will further my ability to live in a community with others, not only to help where I am needed but to learn how to be a better person and activist.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Mar 3, 2022. Winners will be announced on Mar 28, 2022.

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