On Social Justice
The entire Lincoln Foundation Board of Trustees and staff are saddened by the recent events of discrimination and systemic violence against people of color. We stand in solidarity with those who peacefully protest for equal justice under the law. Since our beginnings, Lincoln Foundation has existed to provide an avenue for youth of color to navigate past the policies and laws that create barriers to academic success. At our core, we have always believed that Black Lives Matter.
The tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor,
Our signature Whitney M. YOUNG Scholars Program® teaches our Scholars to compete academically. Our students learn to respect and value the dignity of all members of society. In the past, our Scholars have read and studied the book “The Other Wes Moore” by Wes Moore. We have held sessions with our Scholar community teaching our families what to do if they are ever stopped by police.
Lincoln Foundation stands in solidarity with our Scholars, their families, teachers, staff and trustees seeking equality and social justice. We are committed to our mission to remove the barriers our Scholars and their families face during this time of uncertainty. We also join in the call for justice and systemic change to create a better world for all because, Black Lives do Matter.
Dear: Scholar Community/Prospective Whitney M. YOUNG Scholars/Parents/School Representatives…
During these unprecedented times as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations of all types are faced with making critical shifts in the services they provide. Lincoln Foundation is no exception. All of our programs have been impacted as we operate remotely under the current quarantine and social distancing guidelines. We recognize this is also having an adverse effect on the youth we serve.
Our concern for our Scholars, especially those currently in the 12th grade (Phase 25) grows as their senior year experiences have been negatively impacted. Most will not be able to participate in the usual rites of passage that include a prom, a senior class trip, a yearbook or even a commencement ceremony. More importantly, the learning that takes place in the spring semester is impacted as schools convert to a virtual learning platform. These events coupled with the overall concern for the successful transition of high school seniors to college freshmen has forced us to rethink our programming. Additionally, we have similar concerns about how the lost classroom time will negatively impact the current high school junior class (Phase 26).
It is because of these concerns that Lincoln Foundation has made the critical decision to redesign the signature Whitney M. YOUNG Scholars Program®. The Whitney M. YOUNG Scholars Program® will now be a 6-year program providing programming for students in grades 8 through the college freshman year. These changes are being made after much deliberation and discussions with our college and university partners. This pivot will provide mentoring, coaching and support for entering college freshmen at a level we could not otherwise provide.
This change also means that Lincoln Foundation will not admit any new students this year as the 7th grade programming will be eliminated. We will resume the usual enrollment process for rising 8th graders in January 2021. The 7th grade Science curriculum and the 8th grade Math curriculum will be merged into a new and rigorous STEM focus. Enhancements are being made to the curriculum of each grade level to ensure Scholars achieve continued success in high school and beyond.
We realize this is a significant change in the 30-year history of the Whitney M. YOUNG Scholars Program®. However, it is a necessary one to adequately address the needs of students during this difficult and challenging time.
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Demonstrate your appreciation for the Whitney M. YOUNG Scholars Program® by making a gift to help a current or future Scholar. Please consider a gift of $30 in recognition of the 30th anniversary by making a secure online donation, here.
Thirty years ago, Dr. Samuel Robinson, Lincoln Foundation President Emeritus launched a bold new initiative to “offer academic and financial assistance for Jefferson County students who have college potential but lack the necessary funds to further their higher education.” And so began the Whitney M. YOUNG Scholars Program®. The idea was to provide 7th grade students year-round educational and personal support through high school. A total of 50 students were inducted into the program on November 19. 1990. The program is named for Whitney M. Young, Sr. the first African American President of Lincoln Institute and his son, Whitney M. Young, Jr., also an educator, graduate of Kentucky State University, head of the National Urban League and advisor to three sitting U.S. Presidents.
Today, the Whitney M. YOUNG Scholars Program® continues as a college readiness program. Educational Clinics, Parental Institutes, and summer programs including Summer Institutes are offered to empower young Scholars toward academic achievement and ultimately college graduation. Students are also given the opportunity to develop leadership skills that benefit their schools, Their families and their community.
The program now annually serves the academic needs of 450 Scholars in grades 7 through 12, with more than 150 currently enrolled in an accredited college or university. More than 433 degrees have been earned by Scholars. Today, Whitney M. YOUNG Scholar alumni are young leaders in the fields of business, law, healthcare, education and public service. The academic successes and professional achievements far exceed Dr. Robinson’s initial expectations for the program.
As Lincoln Foundation marks the 30th Anniversary of the Whitney M. YOUNG Scholars Program® we look forward to sharing the stories of Scholars, past and present who credit the program for helping to shape them into the individuals they are today. These accomplishments are made possible thanks to the many philanthropic gifts from our generous supporters who believe in the power of education to change lives.
We thank you.