Proposals were due Jan. 20 from nonprofits interested in obtaining money from the city of Colorado Springs for scholarships for minority college students.
Who knew the city was in the scholarship business?
According to the posting by the city's procurement department, the city will make a donation to a nonprofit of up to $3,000 "to be used solely to fund one or more college scholarships." The total awarded per fiscal year is capped at $6,000, and the awards are being handled in an informal selection process allowed under the city's procurement rules for contracts of less than $200,000.
Here's the eligibility criteria:
• Nonprofit organizations (501(c)3) located in El Paso County which are in good standing in the state of Colorado and have previously awarded college scholarships for at least three consecutive school terms.
• Nonprofit organizations that provide financial aid to assist underserved students who have demonstrated a need for financial assistance to either enter college or need continued funding to pursue their college degree.
• Students must be a high school senior and slated to graduate in the year that the scholarship is awarded or are currently enrolled in a college or university in good academic and disciplinary standing at the time that the scholarship funds are awarded.
• The nonprofit organization must not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, pregnancy status, religion, creed, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, spousal or civil union status, veteran status, or other status protected by applicable law in awarding the scholarships.
Asked why the city does this, city spokesperson Jamie Fabos says via email:
The City has a budget of $50,000 (2020) in the Human resources diversity fund. As part of the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion program, $6,000 has been donated to local non-profits who assist underserved Colorado Springs residents with college tuition via a scholarship program in each of the last four years. This is one small way that the City is investing in the community. In the past, the City has worked with El Cinco de Mayo, Inc. and Urbanites Leading the Pikes Peak Region.
These scholarships have typically been awarded to lower income students by the chosen non-profits. These organizations must sign an agreement stating they will not discriminate based on race, gender, etc. in the awarding of the scholarships.