Whitney M. YOUNG Scholars Program®

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Lincoln Foundation’s signature college readiness program serves the needs of academically talented, socioeconomically disadvantaged students in grades 8 through the freshman year of college. The goal of the program is to empower students toward academic achievement and college graduation.

The Whitney M. YOUNG Scholars Program® annually admits high potential youth from under-resourced communities throughout the Louisville area. Students commit to participating in experiential Saturday morning and summer programs that prepare them academically, socially, and emotionally for high school graduation and the rigors of college. Eligible students must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 and qualify for free or reduced lunch.


Gheens Foundation Educational Clinics are designed to develop and enhance Scholar skills in science, mathematics, writing and language development, oration and presentation, ACT preparation, and college readiness. Clinics are held at local area colleges and educational venues 18 Saturdays during the academic year.

Summer Institutes for grades 10-12 allow Scholars to spend two weeks on a college/university campus. This academic and residential experience prepares them for their upcoming school year and future college life. Summer educational programs for grades 8-10 prepare Scholars for future courses in math, science, and technology.

Parental Institutes help parents become better advocates for their Scholars. Seminars address financial literacy and planning, adolescent behavior, conflict resolution, stress management, leadership development, understanding test scores, and how to select the best school. Meetings are held on nine Saturdays during the academic year.

College & Beyond

Lincoln Foundation assists Scholars and their families in identifying and obtaining financial aid for post-secondary education. Guidance and scholarship assistance continue throughout the Scholars’ college years.  Scholars receive scholarships each college semester as an incentive for continued academic achievement. Lincoln Foundation has awarded an average of $85,232 per year in scholarships over the past five years.

Proven Track Record

  • $5.5 million scholarship awards for Class of 2019 (46 students)
  • $6.5 million scholarship awards for Class of 2018 (39 students)
  • 100% annual high school graduation
  • 150+ Scholars currently enrolled at accredited colleges or universities


The Whitney M. YOUNG Scholars Program® was created in 1990 by Dr. Samuel Robinson, President Emeritus. The program was named for Dr. Whitney M. Young, Sr., graduate and first African American President of the Lincoln Institute, and his son Dr. Whitney M. Young, Jr. noted educator, statesman, and human rights advocate. The acronym YOUNG stands for Youth Organized to Understand New Goals.

Click here to view Dr. Samuel Robinson Award Recipients

Program Information & Application

Applications to the Whitney M. YOUNG Scholars Program® are accepted annually from eligible students in grades 8-9. Acceptance is contingent upon selection criteria & availability.   

Before you apply, make sure to have the following:

  • Your Jefferson County student ID number.
  • The name and email of your assigned assistant principal or academic counselor.

The application window for the 2021-2022 Whitney M. YOUNG Scholars Program® academic year will open in January and will remain open until March 15, 2021 for students and parents and March 31, 2021 for school representatives.

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