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Racial Justice, Equity, Accessibility, Diversity, and Inclusion

At Chicago Scholars, we strive to prepare our Scholars for the world and the world for our Scholars. Preparing our Scholars for the world means we support them through college acceptance, matriculation, persistence, and career access. Preparing the world for our Scholars means we look beyond Scholars’ immediate needs to pave the way for them to go beyond surviving to thriving, from achieving to excelling, from attending and working to belonging and exceeding. 

We believe it is vitally important to push beyond diversity alone, which merely enables the participation of marginalized communities. We need to create a world in which all people can freely participate as their full selves.

Our Approach

Chicago Scholars’ commitment to READI encompasses all of our stakeholders— staff, boards, volunteers, partner schools and organizations, families, and most importantly, our Scholars.

Racial Justice…

ensures that there are deliberate, proactive, and preventative systems to support the success of our Scholars, who are largely people of color.


facilitates fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement while creating more just procedures, processes, institutions, and systems.


fosters the participation of those who have been historically excluded so that they can attain experiences, opportunities, influence, and power. 


ensures that people of color, first-generation college students, and individuals from low-income backgrounds have seats at the table and their identities are fully seen, recognized, and celebrated.


creates more welcoming environments and belonging while enabling full participation at every level of organizational and civic leadership.

Young man in glasses.


  • We meet each other where we are, exhibit curiosity, engage in caring and candid conversations, embrace productive conflict, and give grace.

  • We create an environment where our staff can show up as their whole selves, embrace our values, commit to our mission, and deliver excellence on behalf of our Scholars.

  • We serve as a model of the workplace we seek for our Scholars.

  • We prioritize race, first-generation status, and socioeconomic background.

  • We know that we are imperfect, and our work on diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and racial justice is ongoing. We are committed to continuous learning, growth, and improvement in service of our mission.


  • We strive to reflect the city’s racial diversity with an emphasis on the most historically underserved students.

  • We provide our Scholars with mirrors by ensuring that our staff, board, and network of volunteers reflect their identities and experiences and can serve as models of what is possible. We also offer windows into diverse perspectives by fostering connections with individuals whose experiences are different from those of our Scholars.

  • We build knowledge and understanding among the adults who support our Scholars so that they understand and appreciate Scholars’ unique identifies, bring an equity lens to their interactions, and have the skills to effectively work across lines of difference.

  • We hold ourselves accountable individually through performance management and feedback systems, and collectively by developing and sharing our goals and establishing internal and external structures, to monitor progress and inform our work.