For many young people of color finding a path to attending college or a university after high school, obtaining safe and affordable housing and having access to healthcare is not easy. The barriers are numerous, but most come down to financial need.
In fact, according to RI Kids Count, a smaller proportion of black or Hispanic high school graduates than white graduates enroll in college, and more than 80 percent of Hispanic, black, and Asian students have a gap between their financial need and grants and scholarships, compared with 71 percent for white undergraduate students. Persons of color also may lack affordable housing and access to healthcare services.
The Papitto Opportunity Connection seeks to help Rhode Island high school students of color to get past the financial obstacles to higher education, affordable housing and access to healthcare services while also empowering them to create change in their communities.
This scholarship is designed to help clear those financial barriers, be they for tuition, housing, healthcare or other related costs. Additionally, it is designed to seek out the most creative ideas from young Rhode Islanders of color on how to transform the Ocean State in the areas of education, skills training, business, healthcare and housing to benefit the BIPOC community.
The top three entries will receive a one-time award, and the Papitto Opportunity Connection will invest $1,000,000 to activate the winning entry.
WHAT IS THE POC TRANSFORM RI SCHOLARSHIP?
Simply put, it is an opportunity for young Rhode Islanders of color to express their hopes and dreams for how they would create change in their community, while providing financial assistance to them for higher education and related costs, such as healthcare and housing.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
High school students in grades 9-12 are asked to answer only one question as part of their scholarship application: “If you were given $1,000,000 to better the lives of Rhode Island’s BIPOC communities either through education, job skills training, business, housing or healthcare, how would you do so?”
The top three entries will receive a one-time scholarship award, and the Papitto Opportunity Connection will invest $1,000,000 to activate the first-place entry.
DOES IT COST ANYTHING FOR ME TO APPLY?
There is no fee to apply.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THIS SCHOLARSHIP?
Any high school student of color in grades 9-12 that is a resident of the State of Rhode Island and attends a public, private, or parochial school or who is in a registered home-school program.
DO I NEED TO DEMONSTRATE FINANCIAL NEED AS PART OF THE APPLICATION?
No, this scholarship is not contingent upon financial need.
HOW DO I ANSWER THE QUESTION AND PRESENT MY IDEA?
Students can tell us about their idea in three different ways: You can write an essay of no more than 1,000 words. Create a video no longer than 3-minutes or develop a comparable multi-media presentation. It is important to keep in mind – essays or videos exceeding those limits, will NOT be considered.
HOW MUCH ARE THE SCHOLARSHIPS?
First place is $25,000. Second place is $15,000. Third place is $10,000. These scholarships are one-time only and not renewable.
WHAT CAN THE SCHOLARSHIP BE USED FOR?
The scholarship funds can be used for expenses relating to a student’s education at an accredited two-or-four-year college/university or vocational/technical school in the United States of America and/or for other qualifying expenses such as tuition, housing and/or healthcare expenses.
WHAT IF I’M NOT A SENIOR, AND I WIN, WHEN WILL I COLLECT THE SCHOLARSHIP?
The scholarship funds of students who win, but are not yet enrolled in college, will be placed in an interest-bearing account to be accessed upon graduation from high school and acceptance into an accredited institution of higher education. Alternatively, the funds can be used for healthcare, housing or other qualified assistance in the event that the student does not enroll in higher education following graduation.
IF MY IDEA WINS, CAN I BE A PART OF MAKING MY IDEA COME TO LIFE?
Absolutely. POC welcomes you as part of the strategy and development process to make your idea a reality.
HOW IS MY APPLICATION JUDGED?
Each application will be judged on the following criteria:
Does it align with the mission of the Papitto Opportunity Connection to empower people of color in Rhode Island by creating success for them in education, job skills training, business, healthcare or housing?
Is your idea realistic and feasible?
Will your idea change the lives of people of color in Rhode Island?
How creative is your idea?
WHO WILL JUDGE THE APPLICATIONS?
There will be two rounds of judging. The initial applications will be judged by a sub-committee of the Papitto Opportunity Connection Advisory Board – which consists entirely of members of Rhode Island’s Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities. The top 12 entries will then be judged by a panel of three individuals not affiliated with the Papitto Opportunity Connection.
WHEN CAN I SUBMIT MY APPLICATION?
Applications are accepted between November 1, 2021, and January 31, 2022.
WHEN WILL THE WINNER’S BE ANNOUNCED?
Winners will be announced at an event on the evening of March 15, 2022.