The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation was established in 2000 to support high-achieving students who have financial need. Through scholarships, comprehensive counseling, and other support services, the foundation seeks to close the “excellence gap,” which they describe as “the disparity in the percent of lower-income versus higher-income students who reach advanced levels of academic performance.” Since its inception, the foundation has awarded scholarships to nearly 2,930 students, from eighth grade through graduate school.
High-performing seventh graders can apply for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholars Program, which provides academic and college advising, learning enrichment, and internship opportunities, and academic financial support, for the five years leading to college. The foundation also offers two additional scholarship opportunities for high-achieving students pursuing a degree. The College Scholarship Program awards scholarships to high-achieving high school seniors planning to attend a four-year college or university, while the Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship awards funds to community college students who are transferring to a four-year institution.
Along with HSF, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is a founding partner of the Youth Leadership Consortium (YLC). YLC is a partnership of organizations led by HSF, which also includes the American Indian College Fund, APIA Scholars, College Board, College Greenlight, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Jack and Jill Foundation, and The Steve Fund—all of whom share the goal of ensuring that the families collectively served by institutions of higher education are representative of the diversity of the US population.
Each year, YLC hosts College Prep Saturday and the Young Leaders Summit (YLS). College Prep Saturday is a free, half-day workshop designed to help middle and high school students—and their families—from a diverse cohort of historically underrepresented socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds, with the resources and knowledge to prepare, plan, and pay for college.
YLS is a five-day, college empowerment conference for a diverse cohort of low-income high school juniors, selected through a competitive application process. The program is designed to give young leaders the practical tools they need to successfully apply to top universities, have full access to scholarship and financial aid opportunities, and set a course for academic and career success, through early introduction to in-demand fields.
In 2019, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation was honored as HSF’s Community Partner of the Year at the Leaders in Education Awards (LEA). LEA is an annual event that recognizes HSF Scholars and parents, as well as community and education partners for their special contributions to advancing higher education for Latino students. You can watch a video feature from the 2018 LEA here.