Beat the Odds® Scholarship Program

The Beat the Odds® scholarship program honors outstanding high school students who have overcome tremendous adversity in life to achieve academic excellence, demonstrate leadership in their communities and aspire to attend college. Each year, through a competitive review process, Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota selects five of the most deserving Twin Cities-area high school students for a Beat the Odds scholarship to be put toward college expenses. This year's recipients will each receive $5,000.

CDF-MN's annual Beat the Odds celebration recognizes the scholarship recipients and helps raise awareness about the significant challenges facing Minnesota's children and the need for continued investment and advocacy. The individual experiences and stories of the young people honored at the event inform CDF-MN's ongoing efforts to shape policy and change the odds for all children.

Since 1993, CDF-MN has awarded more than 300 scholarships to outstanding youth in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The celebration raises needed funding to sustain the organization's Leave No Child Behind® mission.

Please show your support for these high school students by giving as generously as you can.

How to Apply

Application for the 2019 Beat the Odds scholarship program will open in fall 2018.

The Beat the Odds scholarship program honors outstanding high school students who have overcome tremendous adversity in life to achieve academic excellence, demonstrate leadership in their communities and aspire to attend college. Students must be nominated or seek nomination for the Beat the Odds scholarship program by/from a teacher, counselor, caseworker, or other adult who can speak to the following: his/her character, academic achievement, commitment to social justice issues/community, and the tremendous odds he/she beats every day.

Students must be enrolled in a broader Twin Cities Metro area high school and must be on track to graduate by June 2019. Students are invited to apply regardless of immigration status. Students who are undocumented should review page two of the application before submitting their application.

Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota will select 10 finalists and from that group will choose five honorees. Honorees receive:

  • A $5,000 Beat the Odds scholarship, allocated during college matriculation, and a laptop computer;
  • Induction into the CDF family and invitation to join CDF’s leadership development ladder; and
  • Honors at the annual Beat the Odds Awards in spring 2019. Professional, autobiographical videos of each honoree’s story will be produced in winter 2018/2019 and shown at the ceremony. These films may also be shared with the media, sponsors, supporters and the broader public, as well as posted on our website.
Beat the Odds® Awards Celebration

Join us!

Our 27th Annual Beat the Odds® Awards Celebration will be held in the spring of 2019. Check back this fall for more details.

Meet Our Past Honorees
       
Shamaria Jordan Sebastien Lannelongue Domenic Johnson Christopher Oquist
2016 2016 2016 2016
       
Mela Nguyen Hennessey Carlbom Martell Person Randy Mathews
2016 2016 2015 2015
     
Kao Soua Yang Nasro Mohamed Makayla Hout Tamera Larkins
2015 2015 2015 2014
     
Yee Thao Ramiro Maldonado Devonte Miller Dorothy O'Berry
2014 2014 2014 2013
       
 
Salina Samaniego  Rachel Flores Maria Cruz Mendiola Lashay Thompson
2013 2013 2013 2012
       
       
Anne Sinner Eduardo Sanchez Beltran Raymond Perez Sasha Schanz
2012 2012 2012 2011
       
       
Amira Gill Alex Glaze Abdirahman Hassan Brian Anderson
2011 2011 2011 2010
       
       
Jazmine "Jazz" Caldwell Kristal Vang Amanda Kelley Edwin Rosas
2010 2010 2010 2009
       
       
Kia Lor Michael Roberts Max Wirt Maricruz Monreal
2009 2009 2009 2008
       
       
Justin Haynes McKizzie Fadumo Hassan Maipacher Her Choua Yang
2008 2008 2008 2007
       
       
Jacqueline Bonilla Tanya Allen Westenly Alcenat Katherine DeSantis
2007 2007 2006 2006
       
       
Pang Kou Yang Rance Palmer    
2006 2006