Alpha Phi Alpha Empowers Youth Through Scholarships: Over $15,000 Awarded to 25 Students in Annual Presentation Dinner

Alpha Phi Alpha Empowers Youth Through Scholarships: Over $15,000 Awarded to 25 Students in Annual Presentation Dinner

By Leslie Hudgins

Alpha Phi Alpha of Columbus, Georgia, held its annual Onward & Upward Foundation scholarship presentation dinner on Thursday, May 9th. This year, the organization provided over $15,000 in scholarship money to 25 young men and women to pursue their post-secondary education.

To qualify for the scholarship, students undergo a rigorous screening process, including a background check and an interview. In addition to the application, students are required to submit three letters of recommendation from various community members, their current official school transcript, and a resume.

Scholarship amounts vary based on a ranking system developed by the Alpha Onward & Upward Foundation. Students ranking is organized based on the most qualified applicants at the top. Those applicants then receive a scholarship ranging from $500 to $2,000.

The funds for the scholarships are raised through the Alpha's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Award Breakfast. The proceeds are used to support high school students transitioning to college. The success of the Breakfast over the last 30-plus years afforded the foundation the ability to provide two hundred thousand dollars in scholarships to date.

The Alpha Onward & Upward Foundation is the educational arm of the fraternity, a 501(c)3. It was established in 1906, making Alpha Phi Alpha the nation's oldest African American fraternity. The foundation's core values include scholarship and love for mankind. In addition to scholarships, the foundation provides various services such as financial literacy forums, community unity activities, voter registration drives, and mentoring and counseling for youth in the Columbus community.

According to Chad Owens, a representative of the foundation, the scholarship program's number one goal is to support worthy students in pursuing their academic endeavors.

The Courier interviewed William Taylor, one of this year's scholarship recipients. Taylor is a graduating senior at Columbus High School and plans to study biology at Alabama A&M University. He went on to explain his excitement about receiving the scholarship. 

"A lot of us aren't getting our colleges paid for or anything like that, so we're getting financial aid, but these scholarships just let us know that we have a good support system and people have our back. These funds are going to help us get into programs and further excel in our academic career," shared Taylor. 

The scholarship application process for the next cycle will begin in January 2025, with applications due in March and interviews commencing in April. Further information about the scholarship program can be found on the Alpha Onward & Upward Foundation's website at

Why this is important to the Black and Hispanic community: The Onward & Upward Foundation's scholarship program is vital as it provides financial support, encourages academic and personal growth, fosters community engagement, and promotes a legacy of excellence and service. This initiative not only helps individual students but also strengthens the community as a whole, creating a ripple effect of positive change.

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