SPRINGFIELD – The new Urban League of Springfield Scholarship Fund totaling $480,786 was established at the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts in November 2015. This endowed fund made it possible to provide scholarships to 15 African American students from Springfield attending higher education institutions in 2016. Scholarship awards from this fund totaled $20,250. Urban League representatives joined Community Foundation volunteers to help select the students.
The Urban League will continue to provide advice in the selection of scholars for this new fund. In addition, Urban League representatives also make recommendations for recipients from the African American Achievement Fund, another scholarship fund at the Community Foundation that awarded $21,000 in scholarships to 18 students this year. The African American Achievement Fund, established in 1994 has awarded over $350,000 to African American college students in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties since its inception. The fund’s donor understood that it was important to have a selection committee with the right background and expertise and as such, identified the Urban League as advisors to recommend recipients.
The Urban League of Springfield and the Community Foundation are excited about this expanded partnership to advance higher education access and retention for African Americans. With the establishment of the new Urban League of Springfield Scholarship Fund and the continued work of the African American Achievement Fund, the Community Foundation and the Springfield Urban League are able to do more to provide needed resources and to have a positive impact on the students and their communities.
The Urban League is also the beneficiary of an endowed fund established at the Community Foundation that provides annual support to help with its operational expenses, helping it to pursue its mission more fully.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts administers a charitable endowment consisting of nearly 600 separately identified funds serving the three counties bordering the Connecticut River in western Massachusetts. The Foundation sparks charitable giving in the region and helps people, families and businesses give to causes they care about.
The Urban League of Springfield, Inc., serves the African American community in Greater Springfield by advocating for and providing model services that enhance the academic and social development of young people and families, promoting economic self-sufficiency, and fostering racial inclusion and social justice.