By Joseph Phillips
Now in its 22nd season the Chicago Football Classic Scholarship Fund, Inc., (CFC) hosted its first annual “Student to the Stadium Drive” event on Monday, August 26, at Soldier Field.
The event was sponsored by Governor JB Pritzker’s office, the Chicago Bears Foundation, current and former NBA players and other community stakeholders, whose goal is to send over 15,000 area students to Soldier Field to watch Historically Black Colleges and Universities Ivy League powerhouses, Howard University play Hampton University on Saturday, September 14.
CFC Founders Larry Huggins, Everett Rand and Tim Rand, were excited to kick off the event at Tuesday morning’s press conference. The group believes the event will be a great opportunity to expose inner city youth to the corporate ladder of success.
“It’s a chance for our kids to not just hold the ladder of success and let others climb it, it’s their turn to climb it, to find what’s up there,” said Everett Rand, a Chicago Football Classic Scholarship Fund co-founder. “They need a chance to show themselves that they can do better than they’re doing.”
Each year, Rand said the game showcases some of the country’s top HBCUs both on and off the field, including hosting a college fair designed to encourage students to “achieve their personal best in school and beyond.”
During the press conference, Rand also thanked former NBA player and Chicago native Mark Aguirre for donating free transportation for a select group of inner-city youth who will attend the game in September.
Rand acknowledged Ariel Germain – Asst. Athletic Director of Howard University and Eugene Marshall – Athletic Director of Hampton University for allowing their two teams to compete in the event, as well as members of the Aldermanic Black Caucus of the City Council (which included Aldermen Leslie Hairston (5th Ward), and Pat Dowell (3rd Ward). Current NBA players Anthony Davis and Derrick Rose, who will sponsor 4,000 students from the Englewood community were recognized also.
In addition to Rose’s and Davis’ generous contributions, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s office pledged to sponsor 1,000 students, the Chicago Bears Foundation pledged to sponsor 1,000 students, and the McDonald’s corporation pledged to sponsor 720 students.
Last year, over $1.5 million dollars in scholarship money was awarded to area students who attended the organization’s college fair. This includes more than 30 HBCUs from across the country along with the Chicago City Colleges and Chicago State University participating.