Harper using part of largest donation to launch scholarship program for students in need

Harper College is using the largest donation received in its history to create a scholarship for students in need.

The Palatine college has launched a two-year Igniting Paths to Success Scholarship covering full tuition, fees and books for 1,000 students with financial need. Scholarships will be funded with $9 million out of an $18 million gift from philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott and $3 million from college funds.

Students working toward a degree or certificate program are eligible to apply for the scholarship. Preference will be given to historically underrepresented students and newly enrolled students in health, STEM, career and technical education and business/entrepreneurship programs, college officials said.

"The pandemic has had a disparate impact on historically underrepresented communities, and we can't permit the prospect of a high-quality college education to slip further away," said Avis Proctor, Harper College president.

Students awarded scholarships could receive up to $6,000 this academic year and next. Interested candidates must apply by Aug. 8 to receive a scholarship for the fall semester. Visit

The remainder of Scott's donation will be used "to advance academic innovation, increase basic needs support, reduce persistent equity gaps in student success outcomes and increase community impact," officials said.

ADA anniversary

Today marks the 31st anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

On July 26, 1990, then-President George H.W. Bush signed the law which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodations, commercial facilities, telecommunications, and state and local government services.

Nationwide, 41.1 million people, or 12.7%, of the nation's non-institutionalized population has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2019 American Community Survey.

In Illinois, 7.2% of people under 65 years old out of the state's more than 12.6 million population have a disability, placing it in the median range nationwide.

"The ADA has succeeded in changing the lives of millions of people with disabilities, but substantial hurdles remain," said Mark Hellner of Arlington Heights, senior counsel and executive director emeritus of the Center for Disability and Elder Law. "Among the biggest concerns, is the lack of access to knowledgeable and affordable legal counsel."

Government and private funding sources support pro bono legal clinics, such as Equip for Equality, Access Living, and the Center for Disability and Elder Law, all of which have Chicago offices, Hellner added.

Women artists

Oakton Community College in Des Plaines is seeking entries for a virtual art exhibit "Bad@ssery: Women Creating a Just Environment and World" by Aug. 13.

Professional artists who self-identify as women can submit entries in all media. Artists may submit a single piece providing social commentary and inspiration. Submissions can focus on women in the United States or globally, either in the public or private sphere, and have a contemporary or historical context.

This year's exhibition, sponsored by the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at Oakton, will be available online from Oct. 4 through Nov. 1.

"It centers women's experiences in a moment of immense cultural upheaval," said Lindsey Hewitt, program coordinator. "Women and girls have always faced tremendous obstacles, whether it be sexual harassment, violence, inequality, health disparities, or workplace discrimination. However, as we've seen over the past year, they have been instrumental in saving themselves, their families, communities and the world."

Submissions must be entered electronically at

Social justice

After the May 25, 2020, killing of George Floyd, members of the Beth Tikvah Congregation in Hoffman Estates started monthly Zoom gatherings to talk about biases and what to do about them.

Meetings held last winter and spring featured speakers on a variety of topics including racial biases, anti-Semitism, and Islamaphobia.

"We have taken the summer off but plan to resume our program in October," said Ron Coppel, of Schaumburg, a member of the temple's social justice committee whose parents survived the Holocaust.

The committee plans to bring in speakers to talk about LGBTQ and anti-Asian biases this fall - the latter was precipitated by hate incidents and attacks against Asian Americans in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Coppel added.

Largest Muslim convention

The Islamic Society of North America's 58th annual convention, held in Rosemont in recent years, will be virtual this year.

The theme for this year's convention, on Sept. 4 and 5, is "Re-imagine and Rebuild with Renewed Resolve." It will feature speakers, inspirational sessions, entertainment, community service awards, and ethnic vendors.

Registration is open. The cost is $25 per family. Register at

Asian survey

Asian American communities in Chicago and the suburbs have been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, rising anti-Asian rhetoric and targeted violence, according to a new study released by the Chinese American Service League, the largest Asian American Pacific Islander social service organization in the Midwest.

The group surveyed 549 members of the AAPI community throughout Chicago and the suburbs from Feb. 22 through April 30. Its report showed 54.5% of respondents said they feel safe in their communities, compared to 70.7% in 2020.

Last year, more than 75% of respondents said they felt like they belonged in their neighborhood. Less than two-thirds felt the same way this year.

The survey also measured food insecurity and inequities with access to health care services and insurance coverage.

"Chinese Americans and the AAPI community as a whole are consistently damaged by the myth of us being a model minority when the truth of the matter is that we share many of the same exact challenges and pain points as our counterparts in Black and brown communities," said Paul Luu, the league's chief executive officer.

View the full report at

• Share stories, news and happenings from the suburban mosaic at

Harper College President Avis Proctor
MacKenzie Scott donated $18 million to Harper College in Palatine. The college plans to use $9 million of it toward a new scholarship for students in need. Associated Press, 2018
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