City Colleges of Chicago’s Kennedy-King College recently announced it has been selected as the recipient of a $5 million gift from MacKenzie Scott. The gift is the largest gift by any single private donor to Kennedy-King College and City Colleges of Chicago Foundation on record.
“We are dedicated to realizing the full potential of each one of our talented students,” said Kennedy-King College President Greg A. Thomas. “We are deeply grateful to Ms. Scott for a gift that will help ensure our students’ ability to access college and help our students – 93% who are African American or Latinx – break down barriers of their own by launching careers in high-demand fields.”
As reported in Forbes Magazine in March 2021, Kennedy-King College is considered one of the top 10 community colleges in the country, and serves the largest predominantly African American student body on the list compiled by Academic Influence. Academic Influence used new artificial intelligence techniques to develop its first-ever ranking system naming the best community colleges in the nation.
“Kennedy-King College, which is located in the heart of our Englewood neighborhood, is an invaluable community anchor that has supported students as they move into careers in high-demand fields or transfer to four-year universities,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “This generous gift will not only allow Kennedy-King College to continue to provide high-quality instruction and resources to its students, but it will also support City Colleges’ long-standing commitment to equity, inclusion and ensuring Black and Brown students have unrestricted access to higher education. I want to thank Mac- Kenzie Scott for choosing to invest in one of the finest community colleges in the country.”
“Kennedy-King plays a transformational role in students’ lives – guiding them along a path to upward mobility and, in doing so, contributing to a more diverse and inclusive Chicago economy,” said City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Juan Salgado.
Located in Englewood on Chicago’s South Side, Kennedy-King College embodies the commitment to academic excellence and civic responsibility espoused by its namesakes, civil and human rights activists Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A comprehensive community college, Kennedy-King serves nearly 5,000 students, offering credit classes in a wide range of subjects, as well as continuing education classes, and free GED and ESL courses.
The college is City Colleges’ center of excellence in culinary and hospitality and home to the Washburne Culinary & Hospitality Institute, which provides students hands-on training serving the public, including through the on-campus restaurant Sikia. Dawson Technical Institute, the college’s satellite campus in Bronzeville, is a Center of Excellence in construction technology, offering career pathways in construction technology at companies and major trade unions.
The college also features an emerging center of equity in the creative arts and a dedicated focus on technology education through its soon-to-be-opened Tech Launchpad.
The college is committed to removing barriers to student success. Kennedy-King offers the full-tuition Statesmen Scholarship.
As one of the seven City Colleges of Chicago, Kennedy-King College also offers the Star Scholarship, a last dollar full tuition and books scholarship for qualifying high school students, and the Fresh Start debt forgiveness program, which allows former City Colleges students to return to college and “learn off” their debt.
The college maintains a full complement of student services delivered in person and virtually, including a wellness center offering social and emotional support, tutoring, advising, a disability access center, a transfer center, a veterans’ center and more.
Faculty offer personalized attention with the average credit class student to instructor ratio of 14 students to 1 instructor.
The funds will be housed by the City Colleges of Chicago Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students as they pursue their City Colleges education.