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.

Beat the Odds® Awards Celebration

Join us!

Our 25th Annual Beat the Odds® Awards Celebration was held on March 30, 2017. We will announce next year's event in early winter.


Help us make our Beat the Odds celebration a success! Watch for details near the end of 2017 on how to volunteer at our 2018 event.

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