The Christian MLK50 Conference Announces $1.5 Million Dream Forward Scholarship Initiative for Memphis-Area Students of Color

As the MLK50: Gospel Reflections from the Mountaintop conference continues, the organizers announced an initiative to keep the spirit of the gathering going past the two days of keynotes and panels.

The Dream Forward Scholarship initiative is a nearly $1.5 million partnership between 20 colleges and universities for scholarships for students of color from the Memphis, Tennessee, area.

According to the MLK50 website:

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The Dream Forward Scholarship Initiative seeks to partner Christian colleges and seminaries to invest in the educational future of minority students. The centerpiece of this effort is the creation of new pathways to a quality higher education through an array of full and partial tuition scholarships at participating Christian colleges and universities around the country reserved exclusively for minority students in Memphis. The goal is to equip these students to return to their home community to strengthen it in some way, for example, by returning to the Mid-South to make a difference for a local church, ministry, or non-profit.

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“As we were planning and preparing for this event, we have been given wise counsel by a local advisory board consisting of pastors and ministry leaders. Early on, they asked if we would consider creating a legacy item, consistent with Dr. King’s work, specifically for the city of Memphis,” Brent Leatherwood, ERLC director of strategic partnerships, told Christianity Today.

The scholarships are meant to increase diversity and representation at these Christian colleges, where diversity and representation are often issues plaguing the campuses.

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Some of the scholarships are for full-rides to the school, others are for a set amount per school year.

Of the 20 colleges partnered, Leatherwood told CT that “all of these institutions understand that and agree diversity is a kingdom principle.”

“Some have developed a strong minority engagement program and others are taking deliberate steps to get there,” he said. “We strongly support those efforts. Furthermore, they all recognize we need to be purposeful in creating pathways for minority students.”

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