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Williams Foundation Trailblazer Scholarship

1 winner$1,000
Application Deadline
May 19, 2025
Winners Announced
Jun 19, 2025
Education Level
High School
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior
Financial Background:
2.5 or higher

“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

Those who pursue unique paths in life are innovative and independent thinkers. It is these changemakers who can use their knowledge and skills to dismantle the barriers that limit opportunities for marginalized individuals to achieve their full potential and realize the American Dream. 

This scholarship seeks to recognize and celebrate young trailblazers who are forging their own paths in life.

Any low-income, BIPOC high school senior who has at least a 2.5 GPA may apply for this scholarship.

To apply, tell us about any innovative or self-initiated projects you have worked on that were intended to meet the needs of marginalized or underserved groups.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published July 5, 2024
Essay Topic

Tell us about any innovative, self-initiated activities or projects you have been involved in that were intended to meet the needs of marginalized and underserved populations.

400–600 words

Winning Application

Schnolder Montour
Valencia CollegeKissimmee, FL
Throughout my journey, I have been driven by a deep desire to make a positive impact on the lives of marginalized and underserved populations. To address their needs and create meaningful change, I have taken the initiative to engage in innovative self-initiated activities and projects. One of the projects I initiated was a community outreach program focused on providing educational support to underprivileged children in my local area. Recognizing the disparities in access to quality education, I gathered a group of dedicated volunteers and established a tutoring program. We partnered with a local community center and reached out to schools in low-income neighborhoods to identify students in need of additional academic support. Our program aimed to provide not only academic assistance but also mentorship and guidance. We offered tutoring sessions in core subjects, homework help, and study skills development. Additionally, we organized workshops and seminars on topics like career exploration, college readiness, and personal development. By addressing both academic and non-academic needs, we sought to empower these students with the necessary tools and resources to succeed academically and beyond. Another self-initiated project I embarked on was focused on promoting health and well-being among marginalized communities. Recognizing the disparities in access to healthcare and healthy living resources, I organized a series of workshops and awareness campaigns on topics such as nutrition, physical fitness, and preventive care. These activities were designed to empower individuals with the knowledge and skills to make healthier lifestyle choices. To further extend the impact of this project, I collaborated with local health organizations and community centers to organize health fairs and screenings. These events provided individuals from underserved populations with access to free health check-ups, screenings, and consultations. We also partnered with nutritionists, fitness trainers, and other healthcare professionals to offer personalized guidance and support. In addition to these community-based initiatives, I have also been involved in advocacy work to address social and policy issues affecting marginalized populations. Recognizing the importance of amplifying their voices, I joined a grassroots organization focused on promoting racial and social justice. Through this organization, I participated in campaigns to raise awareness about systemic inequalities, advocated for policy reforms, and organized community dialogues to foster understanding and solidarity. One notable project I led within this organization was a community-driven research initiative. Recognizing the lack of local data on racial disparities in education, I designed and implemented a research study to collect and analyze data on educational outcomes and experiences of marginalized students in my community. This project aimed to provide evidence-based insights and recommendations for policymakers and education stakeholders to develop more equitable policies and practices. Engaging in these projects has taught me the importance of empathy, active listening, and collaboration. It has allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by marginalized communities and the systemic barriers they encounter. Moreover, these experiences have reaffirmed my commitment to advocacy and the pursuit of a career in law and political science, where I can leverage my knowledge and skills to bring about systemic change and promote social justice. In conclusion, my involvement in innovative, self-initiated activities and projects aimed at meeting the needs of marginalized and underserved populations has been a transformative journey. Through initiatives focused on education, health, and advocacy, I have witnessed the positive impact of community engagement and grassroots efforts. These experiences have shaped my perspective, strengthened my commitment to social justice, and ignited my passion to pursue a career in law and political science, where I can continue working towards creating a more equitable and inclusive society.
Elias Goss
East High SchoolDENVER, CO
Going to a school that is 70 percent white, being the only black kid in my Advanced Placement classes, being 1 out of the seven black kids in a speech and debate program of 70 plus, simply being on track to graduate while also being a part of the largest demographic of dropouts at my school has accurately demonstrated what the term minority truly means. Society has created a stigma and stereotype around this term, and it has rooted itself in our community, being fertilized by systemic and internalized racism. But these challenges have only made me realize that if I showed my community that we are only the minority when we conform to it when we are separate, and if we worked together, we wouldn’t be the “minority” anymore. This is why I founded the Young Educated Black Men’s group at my school. A group that strives for black excellence in and outside of the classroom, engaging in community service and outreach, tutoring, mentorship, with college preparation raising thousands of dollars for our program to attend HBCU visits. I also became the speech and debate head captain. I strived for diversity and inclusion in my program, producing three state finalists of color and introducing a blueprint for an integration system for the upcoming years. I started a tutoring program for my football team with the help of coaches and teachers to make sure all student athletes had the tools they needed to be successful in college. I became a mentor in a Rights of Passage program at my church with the goal of keeping young black men off the streets and into a safe and constructive environment. I have interned at an Equity firm with the goal to increase financial literacy in the minority community Co-founding a youth Mentorship cohort in order to start the next-generation on the right foot. I have started a Freelance public speaking media company to spread my voice across the country to ensure everyone in my community can find representation in me. All of these activities help me foster inclusivity and success in my community, to prove that although we are the minority in this country, it does not mean we are any less capable of success. Throughout my academic career I have found that knowledge is the greatest superpower that any person can have especially minorities. When all youth are given the opportunity to learn through representation and equal and safe environments there is no telling what they can achieve. Whether it is sports, extracurriculars, or community engagement I apply this principle to all aspects of my life.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is May 19, 2025. Winners will be announced on Jun 19, 2025.