Skip to main content

COVID-19 Updates from Chicago Scholars

IMPORTANT INFO FOR SCHOLARS: If you are a Chicago Scholar in need of emergency funds due to issues stemming from COVID-19, please reach out to your Chicago Scholars contact. Scholars in college can also email us at and high school Scholars can email us at

Following Chicago Scholars’ response plan for COVID-19 and recommendations from Mayor Lightfoot and Governor Pritzker, Chicago Scholars has made the decision to close our physical office space on March 16, and we will keep our office closed through December 2020. In line with our values, we’re putting people first.

  • WE CARE FOR EACH OTHER: The safety of our Scholars, staff, and stakeholders is our absolute top priority.

  • WE SHOW UP: Even though our physical office is closed, our team remains fiercely dedicated to our Scholars and ensuring they have best resources, information, services, and support. See the bottom of this email for the full list of steps taken by Chicago Scholars to date.

  • WE MODEL THE WAY: During this time, all of our programming and events will be held virtually. We have asked all Chicago Scholars staff to work from home. How long we extend office closure will depend on our response plan and recommendations from local officials. We will keep you updated.

  • WE KEEP OUR WORD: In light of these developments and the importance of everyone’s health and safety, we are reaching out to all of our stakeholders impacted by programming and events changes. See a full list of event changes below.

  • WE DREAM BIG: We’ve provided emergency supports to our Scholars, especially to support those who did not have internet access, those who needed assistance relocating due to college closures, or those who had other urgent needs. We will continue to be there for our Scholars.

  • WE EMBRACE OUR DIFFERENCES: It is important to remember that COVID-19 does not distinguish between race, nationality, or geographic borders. Although the news about the coronavirus can be confusing and frightening, it is so important that we care for each other during this time. We can all fight stigma and discrimination together by treating each other with compassion, love, and support.

As we continue to closely monitor the situation, we will update this webpage with the latest information, as well as communicate updates to any and all relevant Chicago Scholars’ stakeholders.


All of Chicago Scholars large-scale events will be held virtually for the foreseeable future. This includes the following events:

  • Swing for Scholars has been moved to September 28, 2020.

  • Onsite College and Leadership Forum will be entirely virtual this year, including the luncheon. We are committed to ensuring Onsite is as impactful as it is on any other year. Our Scholars will still be interviewing with hundred of college admission representatives from across the country, receiving same-day offers of acceptance, and merit Scholarships.


You can find a letter from Chicago Scholars CEO Dominique Jordan Turner on our organization’s response to the COVID-19 crisis here. Additionally, Chicago Scholars has taken the following steps to date:

  • In line with CDC recommendations, we have developed a prevention and response plan, including immediate prevention steps and criteria for staff working from home or canceling events.

  • Developed or are developing detailed contingency plans for our programming and events over the next several months in case we need to cancel, reschedule, or go virtual based on the criteria laid out in the plan mentioned above.

  • Developed a response for college Scholars whose campuses may be closing or asking them to leave.

  • Purchased or ordered prevention supplies including hand sanitizer, wipes, etc. per CDC guidance.

  • Held a webinar for nonprofit leaders across Chicago on Crisis Management & Maintaining Nonprofit Services during COVID-19 shutdowns.

  • Coordinated a C4 Town Hall focused on elevating student voice and hearing directly from high school and college students in Chicago. Chicago Scholars CEO Dominique Jordan Turner was joined by Chicago Public Schools CEO Dr. Janice Jackson for a conversation around how we can all work together to support Chicago’s students.

  • Created the Chicago Scholars Response Fund to support our Scholars, their families, and our organization as we deal with emergency needs and the uncertain impact of COVID-19.

  • Hosted a virtual #StayHome dance party for this year’s UnTied Gala on Friday, April 24. Thank you to our Associate Board, our sponsors, and DJ OneChance for making this event so memorable.

  • New Scholar Orientation was held virtually on Saturday, June 20, for more than 500 new Scholars!

  • ScholarCon was held virtually on Friday, July 17, for more than 200 of our Scholars. Our young leaders spent the day learning together and attending sessions on professional development, networking, and entrepreneurship, among other topics.


For more information on COVID-19, pleases visit: