The Nineteenth Century Club & The Nineteenth Century Charitable Association - Learning and Giving: Our Focus

Founders' Memorial Scholarship

Founders' Memorial Scholarship

In 1951, the Founders' Memorial Scholarship was established, commemorating the 60th anniversary of The Nineteenth Century Club's founding. In 1953, $500 scholarships were awarded annually to Oak Park and River Forest High School (OP-RF HS) graduates. These scholarships were renewable for four years of college.

In 1993, the scholarship awards were continued with an increase to $1,000 annually; they were renewable for four years (if there was satisfactory progress and grades were maintained).

In 2011 The Nineteenth Century Charitable Association (NCCA) continued the legacy of awarding from $18,000 to $20,000 annually, depending on the number of scholarship recipients each year. Typically, four to five new scholarship recipients are chosen each year. Currently NCCA has an average of 18-20 scholars from OP-RF HS, that we support in college each year. In 2011 NCCA increased the awards to $1,250 per year for a total of $5,000 over a four-year period. Five scholarships were awarded in 2011 and 2012.

In the sixty-three years that we have provided these scholarships, more than 1,000 have been given to help over 250 high school graduates attain higher education. The scholarship committee holds interviews in April of each year at the high school. We partner with high school teachers and deans in encouraging an indefinite number of students to apply. Applicants are chosen on the basis of financial need, academic excellence, community service, a student essay, and written recommendations. The amount of scholarships NCCA is able to give is determined, in part, by fund-raising activities and interest earned from the Scholarship Memorial Trust Fund. Our scholarships, like many at the high school, are combined and distributed through the Community Foundation of Oak Park. At the end of the school year, all scholarships are presented at a special recognition ceremony at the high school.

Since we work closely with the schools, administrators from the local elementary schools and high schools, the high schools are invited to attend and to speak.

We have received many letters over the years from former recipients attesting to the importance of the financial help given to them as students. As economic times worsen, the need continues. We hope to continue assisting the young people of the community by helping to provide the means of going to college.