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Grantee Highlight: The Challenge Foundation

Tags: Regional Partnerships Stories of Impact

2.27.17 Challenge Foundation.jpg

Together, with support from the Metro Council and others, The Challenge Foundation is fulfilling its mission-- scholars are not only changing their lives, they are changing lives around them by serving as examples of what is possible through education, a dream, and lots of hard work.

The Challenge Foundation helps smart, ambitious, and hard-working students break the cycle of poverty through educational opportunities. Challenge takes a whole-student approach, awarding tuition scholarships and individualized support services to low-income students beginning in sixth grade, continuing through middle school, high school, and college . Each year, Challenge accepts 8-10 scholars from an applicant pool of over 200 candidates. Scholars go through a competitive admission process and are selected for their academic ability, ambition, and demonstrated grit.

Currently Challenge supports 63 students in grades 6-12 throughout Denver. Scholars attend some of the most selective schools in the Denver area, including St. Mary’s Academy, Colorado Academy, Kent Denver School, St. Anne’s Episcopal School, and Regis Jesuit High School. In addition to tuition assistance, The Challenge Foundation provides critical support services to ensure scholar success in these rigorous academic settings. Our students live in “two worlds” – their world at school and that in their neighborhood. Bridging these two environments requires more than a simple scholarship, and The Challenge Foundation builds this through supports such as a mentor for every student, a summer academic and enrichment program for scholars entering grades 6-9, academic support such as tutoring, books, computers and supplies, and co-curricular support such as sports equipment and music fees. Additionally, Challenge provides family support such as rental and utility assistance, when necessary, to help ensure that our scholars stay on track toward earning a college degree.

Speaking of college, Challenge supports 37 students who are enrolled in college across the country. Today, Challenge scholars attend Colorado State University, Santa Clara University, Notre Dame University, and Wesleyan University, to name a few. Most recently, one of our high school seniors received a 4-year full-ride scholarship through Questbridge to attend Brown University. Additionally, two of our seniors are finalists for the Daniels Scholarship.

Our college graduates are pursuing careers in areas such as physical therapy, hotel management, law, business, social work, nursing, and medicine. Through their journey with The Challenge Foundation, our scholars become change agents for their families and communities.