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ProjectGiveBack Scholarship for Black Women

2 winners, $1,000 each
Application Deadline
Aug 30, 2023
Winners Announced
Sep 30, 2023
Education Level
High School
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior (2023) or GED

As a Black woman and first-generation college graduate, Ebony McKeever understood the unique plight that Black women experience in the pursuit of an education. Amidst the 2020 global pandemic and civil unrest, she was inspired to get involved.

Ebony started selling handmade crochet blankets to create the ProjectGiveBack Scholarship. This scholarship is intended to highlight young Black women, who have demonstrated excellent leadership skills and a commitment to give back to the Black community.

The ProjectGiveBack Scholarship is for Black women, by Black women. Scholarship awardees will be selected by a panel of Black women ranging in age, interests, and lifestyle. Applicants who have volunteer or work experience and who maintain an active commitment to giving back to their community are strongly preferred. High school seniors or those who have earned their GED are welcome to apply.

Since the heart of this scholarship is centered around giving back, to apply, please submit a 2 minute video talking through how your goals/aspirations align with the spirit of ProjectGiveBack. Also, please write an essay talking through either how you give back with your strengths, time, or talents to the Black community, or how you plan on positively impacting the black community given the effects the covid-19 pandemic has had on Black people.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published June 9, 2023
Essay Topic

Please respond to one of the two questions below:

How do you give back with your strengths, time, or talents to the Black community? Given the unique impact the covid-19 pandemic has had on Black people, what plans/goals do you have that would positively impact the black community?

500–1000 words

Winning Applications

Allie Ball
University of OregonMilwaukie, OR
As an African American adopted into a white family, I have faced many challenges that have consistently thrown racially motivated issues my way. The fact that I had darker skin and curly hair brought unwanted attention at school, the grocery store, church, or even walking in my neighborhood. I would hear “Oh I like your hair”, or “Were you born in Africa”. Although uncomfortable, I didn’t know why. The racial unrest in 2020 brought on by the killing of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd set fire to an unlit match inside of me that sparked the creation of who I was going to be in this world. This unleashed the life journey of the black woman I would become. In the fall of 2016, I sat watching my favorite NFL team, the Niners as the National Anthem began. I saw Colin Kaepernick on his knee. My passion for social justice work and politics began before Kaepernick was kicked out of the NFL, yet his simple act of silent protest was one of the first moments I can recall feeling restless. This movement led me to reflect on why I was standing for the Anthem. Did I feel like I had to? Was it instilled in me from a young age? When I researched what the Anthem says, I questioned, is it true to who I am? The answer was no, “liberty and justice for all” doesn’t apply to any marginalized group, especially African Americans. From that point forward I joined the silent protest and refused to stand and will continue until what is being said is a true reflection of all American people. The next few years I listened, learned and grew, defining the black person I was in America. I quietly journaled reflecting on my thoughts and feelings. The racial unrest that took place in 2020 started with the killing of Ahmaud Arbery and then George Floyd. Rage and fear grew inside me. Although we discussed these horrific acts within my family, I kept quiet in my social circles. That silence quickly ended when I was asked to speak at a rally. Public speaking is something I had never done, but I knew in my soul, I had to. I seized this opportunity to speak my truth. That night I wrote a spoken word poem titled How Long. This poem asks how much longer are we going to be killed, judged, or discriminated against simply because of the color of our skin. The diverse audience near 2,000 was there for a common purpose, everyone there desired to put an end to racism. Being in front of that crowd made me experience things I’ve never felt before. To hear the applause, whistling, and yells unlocked a newfound confidence that I didn’t have before. These five minutes in front of a crowd of 2,000 changed my life forever. I will always remember that moment that showed me my purpose and path in life. That summer I helped plan, promote and speak at other events. Wanting to continue to share my experiences as a young black woman, I started a blog, a podcast, and social media pages called Through Brown Eyes. The motto is Amplifying Voices to Bridge the Gap of Equality. As my racial identity developed I realized a part of that is to fight for the equality and rights of all marginalized communities. The year 2020 set a fire burning in me that continues to drive me toward my future. My internship with the ACLU of Oregon has given me another platform to learn and develop this passion. In the next four years, I hope to surround and engulf myself in a culturally diverse setting all while driving toward a future in politics. As a strong black woman in America, I want to live and work toward building a more just society. I can’t choose one singular event that made me realize what my purpose in life will be. I can however say that the year 2020 was a time that I learned a lot about myself and my passions. The passions that were brought to life during this time were my interests in social justice and politics. I have always had a desire for these but that year revealed that this is what I need to dedicate my life to. The road to helping with social justice through politics as an African American woman will be one of the biggest trials in life I will face, but knowing I can create change and leave an impact for the generations to come is all the motivation I need to push through the struggles. “ I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples”. This quote by Mother Teresa perfectly portrays what I want to do in this world. I am only one person but as long as I can make a difference, no matter how small or how big, I will not only achieve my dream but leave a positive impact on this earth.
Chidalu Emy-Munonye
Urbana High SchoolFrederick, MD
I, in so many ways, have committed myself to the fight for social justice and equity for my people. At my high school, the black community is slim. As a black person looking to see people like me in everything I do, I play a leadership role in multiple predominantly black extracurriculars. One of these is the Black Student Association. I served as secretary from the fall of 2021 to the spring of 2023. I have facilitated group discussions on black history and legacy, as well as advocating for the establishment of an African American Studies course which was successful. Another I hold near and dear to my heart is the Step Team. The Urbana Step Team has been a consistent part of my life since the beginning of my sophomore year. Step is the extracurricular I devote most of my time and energy. The sense of community and togetherness I feel there is unmatched. Last year, the team gave me stability and a sense of home. Currently, I help teach new steps to our entire teams as well as create new routines as our Captain. Fundraising, organizing, and outreach are also a part of my duties as a returning member. We work to highlight and spread African-American rhythm and dance throughout the community. I have also coordinated and participated in community events centering on black history and civic participation in my primarily white hometown, including devising and distributing a pamphlet informing black voters which candidates had aligned themselves with discriminatory legislation. Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Frederick, a local black fraternity, has labeled me a Recognized Scholar since 2016. Recognized Scholars show consistent academic success, and stand as pillars of black excellence. One of my strengths lies within social justice work. I am keenly aware of local politics, so when elections for the Board of Education were taking place in November, I researched the candidates. Two of them are attempting to destabilize the hard work that activists and leaders have done to bring more perspective into the school system. The awareness that America has major flaws is deemed unpatriotic. Social studies that stress how racial differences affect us today are unnecessary. One of them states this on her platform’s website “I will work to ensure that diversity and inclusion…are not the focus of our children’s education” Upon seeing this I was scared, both for the future of my education and my safety. My county has recently seen an uptick in anti-black activity, with non-black students consistently being exposed for saying the N-word to derogatory slurs being written on the bathroom walls of the middle school near my home. As I’ve grown, I’ve become increasingly aware of the pervasive, almost ubiquitous nature of racism. One always thinks, not in my home, not in my town, but I have been shown time and time again that this sort of behavior is all around me. Watching it move into my local government frightens me. In response to this, I have taken actions of my own. I applied to be on the Racial Equity Committee in my county and was chosen. I currently work with teachers, administrators, students, and parents to fight for racial equity in my school system. We have already created a Racial Equity Policy that has been implemented within our county and hope to turn it into official regulation. I don’t want to stand idly by while those who don’t understand the importance of such education make decisions for me. I want to be a part of those decisions, preventing much-needed awareness from leaving the educational atmosphere. I have been a victim of the folly of such uneducated teachers. It damaged my life and trust in the school system, as well as contributed to the school-to-prison pipeline. There’s still so much work to be done to ensure the safety and liberation of the black community. Most importantly, I would like to prevent the erasure of that work. I want to see a future that builds on what we have learned, not one that takes away from it.
Jahnae Harmon
Chester Charter School of the ArtsChester, PA
My name is Jah’Nae Harmon, I am 18 years old and a 2022 graduate of the Chester Charter Scholars Academy. As a lifelong resident of Chester, Pennsylvania-- which is a predominantly Black low-income community bordering Philadelphia. I have firsthand experience with growing up in an underserved, resource poor community. Fortunately, I was exposed at an early age to programs that promoted youth leadership and civic engagement. These programs along with an innate desire to help people are what motivated me to utilize my time, talents, and strengths to give back to and uplift my community. Once named amongst the most dangerous cities in the U.S.-- Chester, Pennsylvania is home to just over 35,000 residents. At present both our local city government and school district are in financial distress. As a disenfranchised Black community it's sometimes hard to remain hopeful to see the good in other people and to believe there is a better way of life. It’s hard to look beyond what you see every day and wish for something more. It is also hard to overcome trauma in a community that is retraumatized every day. As a young Black woman from Chester, this is why I have given and continue to give back to my community- not only with tangible things like organizing food and clothing drives, but in spirit, love, and knowledge as well, which are just as important. Being a young person without much say so in the world, it can get challenging to be of service because some people don't believe you have the capacity to help. However, I believe my purpose in this lifetime is to change that status quo and show that young people have what it takes to help heal and grow our communities. Over the years I have held positions in leadership that have allowed me to impact the lives of many people within the Black community. As Vice President of the Chester Youth Leadership Team; I have traveled the U.S. and used my voice as a tool and a platform to bring awareness to the social issues and inequalities the Black community faces. I also spearheaded the creation of a mentoring program for young Black girls ages 7-16. Here I taught the principles of sisterhood, self-love, self-care, and healthy relationships. These ages are when outside opinions discourage us the most. Society comments on our hair, our complexion, our weight, who and what we love, etc. I feel my duty as their sister is to make sure they know they are beautiful, loved, and deserving of everything wonderful the world has to offer. I also helped to establish a student council at my high school, where I held the position of Secretary. This allowed me to give back to my community by hosting canned food drives and donating to our local shelters to provide winter coats and other essential items for homeless children and families. During this time, I also participated in a tutoring program within my school to give academic assistance to students in need. Additionally, I have also created a healing circle for young Black women to learn about our bodies so we can be healthy, mentally, physically, and spiritually. I found this to be both important and instrumental for those of us overcoming trauma in communities of color. Lastly, as a poet and youth leader I have written and performed essays and poems depicting the African-American youth experience in America; utilizing my work to heighten awareness on issues such as gun violence, poverty, education, and mental health in the Black community. Over the years I have gone through many battles and things that changed my course of direction, but one thing that has never changed is my desire to help others. Therefore, I began my spiritual journey in August of 2018, in order to heal myself and figure out my purpose. I found that as I got better the environment and people around me did as well. Working on myself allowed me to see the work I was doing in others unintentionally. I realized that my purpose was to help people in whatever way I could be of service. I have done so many amazing things for my community, but all of these things became possible because I did the work I needed to do within myself. Me giving back to myself and healing allowed me to give back to others. With everything I have done to give back to the black community-- I still plan to do more. I plan to grow and continue my programs, mentorships, and spiritual circles beyond just my city. In closing, my work in my community of color has also shaped my plan to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice and careers in Civil Rights and Public Administration; where I can continue to use my strengths, time, and talents to help, serve, and protect the rights of Black people through the administration of law and shaping policy specifically for black people to make sure we are represented by and in government. I hope that my work will empower our Black communities and invoke a sense of identity, pride, and duty in others.
Kennedy Arch
Spelman CollegeHuntsville, AL
My career goal is to practice medicine, with a focus on providing quality care for marginalized communities. To achieve this goal, key objectives include completing healthcare internships; completing a pre-med degree in health sciences at Spelman College; and surviving and graduating from medical school in 2030, all while continuing to support my local community. Studies have shown that black women do not receive proper medical care because of the bias that black women are “tough.” [1] Unfortunately, I have witnessed this happen with my mother. She recently experienced symptoms typically caused by thyroid ailments. Doctor after doctor insisted that there was nothing wrong with her. Not one would listen! It took her consulting with a specialist in another state – that was recommended by a doctor that she knows personally – to finally be heard. Thankfully, the specialist worked with my mother to create a plan to live and thrive with Hashimoto disease, which is a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid. It should not be this hard to receive adequate medical care. To this end, on my medical career journey, my goal is to care for the mental and physical well-being of all women, with a personal understanding of the unique challenges faced by black women. While I have not narrowed my career goal to a specific field of medicine, I am currently interested in learning more about radiology, surgery, neuroscience, and oncology. To help narrow my focus and to have a better understanding of the various fields of medicine, I have completed multiple summer programs and internships. Specifically, every summer in high-school, I completed a medical program. Despite being a bit shy, in 2019 I attended a two-week, on-campus program at Vanderbilt University where I attended medical classes; participated in seminars on neurosurgery; and completed hands-on medical procedures, including suturing. Because I thrived at Vanderbilt, in 2020 I applied for and was accepted into Georgetown’s summer medical program; unfortunately, the format was changed to virtual because of Covid, but it was far too expensive for a virtual format! I did not let Covid win, so I attended a less expensive, virtual medical camp provided by Auburn University where I attended medical-focused classes and seminars led by doctors. Finally, in 2021 I completed an on-campus program focused on emergency medicine at Auburn where I attended medical classes; networked with nurses and doctors to understand their experiences; and completed basic, hands-on medical techniques. Overall, these programs demonstrate my determination to succeed at becoming a physician – but not just any physician. While some students want to become a doctor for the money, for me, it is more than that, and I realized this during several internships at outpatient medical facilities. I have seen first-hand how patients are poorly treated. Specifically, I have seen medical assistants bully children for having uncontrollable issues. I have witnessed nurses violating The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and being unsanitary. I will be better than these experiences. I am determined to succeed at becoming a physician that provides quality care to the most vulnerable in our society. I believe it is a moral imperative to help others, which is one reason why I want to enter the medical field. Providing goodwill to a neighbor provides me a sense of purpose, a feeling that I have done my small part to uplift others. To this end, I have completed approximately 840 hours of community service to date. Key projects include leading a cheerleading camp coach and participating in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s fundraisers and community service projects. I not only served as the captain of the Madison Academy varsity cheer team, but I also served for four years as a Madison Academy elementary cheerleaders’ camp coach and team leader. At camp, I taught my cohort of girls how to perform cheers, dances, and stunts for six hours per day, five days a week. I enjoyed training, mentoring, and challenging my young girls; I loved their energy to learn! I believe it is important to encourage children to believe in themselves, to work hard, to work together, and to have fun while doing so. One example of my impact with the girls deals with self-esteem. Even the most modest cheer outfits can be revealing, and with many of the girls starting puberty and dealing with the resulting body changes and unrealistic beauty expectations, I had to dig deep, using my own experiences with self-hate of my appearance, to uplift and boost the confidence of one of my girls. It was not easy, but I hope they carry the time spent with me and my encouraging words with them as they continue their cheer journey. In addition to volunteering as a cheer coach, I have had the pleasure of completing approximately 250 hours of service with the Rho Chi Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, including donating shoes, clothes, and hygiene products to girls in the local community. With the sorority, I have also supported backpack fundraisers for less fortunate kids for back-to-school campaigns, and I have raised over $6,000 for historically black college and universities (HBCU) scholarships, which is very important to me, not only because I support HBCUs, but also because I start my post-secondary, educational journey at Spelman College this fall. Completing and leading service projects with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority has taught me to be thankful for everything that I have, even the smallest of things. After graduating from medical school in 2030, I plan to do my small part to the fight the global issue of healthcare inequalities experienced by poor people and people of color by mentoring, training, and establishing scholarships for pre-med students of color, as I believe one way to reduce healthcare inequalities is to diversify the medical field. I would be honored and grateful to receive the ProjectGiveBack scholarship, which will help support me on my journey to becoming a doctor. Thank you for your consideration! 1)


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Aug 30, 2023. Winners will be announced on Sep 30, 2023.

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