Denver nonprofit issues $5 million in post-secondary education scholarships to students

A local nonprofit organization issued $5 million in post-secondary education scholarships to Denver students in the first distribution of a .08% sales tax increase Denver voters approved in 2018 to increase college enrollment and degree completion.

Prosperity Denver Fund reimbursed 16 Denver-serving nonprofit groups Monday, replenishing their dollars toward toward college scholarships and academic support services.

Organizations that received reimbursement include Girls Inc. of Metro Denver, Colorado “I Have a Dream” Foundation, Latinas First Foundation and the Denver North High School Alumni Scholarship Foundation, among others.

“The idea is to help them increase their capacity and ability to provide scholarships, but not only that,” said Stephen Kurtz, chairman of Prosperity Denver Fund. “It’s also to help them provide the kind of services the kids need to get all the way through college and graduate.”

Nonprofits eligible for reimbursement must have a 501(c)(3) status, with at least a three-year history in Denver, and serve Denver students who are:

  • No older than 25
  • Denver residents for more than 36 months before their first post-secondary course
  • Outfitted with a high school diploma or GED
  • Attending a public or not-for-profit in-state, accredited college, university, community college or technical school
  • Demonstrating Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as determined by their post-secondary institution

Organizations can receive up to a 75% reimbursement for their scholarship and academic support funds and can apply to become supported by the sales tax on a rolling basis, Prosperity Denver Fund said.

The money, intended to be dispersed twice a year, is earmarked for low-income families, Kurtz said.

“These organizations not only provide scholarships to provide students with tuition and health insurance and room and board and computers and all the things you need to go to college but also services and support services to counsel them, tutor them and give them after school job counseling,” Kurtz said. “You want this person to be able to graduate. That’s the true measure of success.”

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