“Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible” – Richard Feynman
As I wrote in a prior blog, when I started this project, I had no clue it would evolve into a comic-based project. But what I did know, or at least strongly believed at that time of starting this project, was that collaboration between participating urban youth and participating artists could lead to something good. For both urban youth and the participating artists alike.
And that “something good” was not just the tangible art and other work product that may ultimately evolve from those early collaborations, but even more importantly from my perspective, the intangible elements like those little creative sparks generated through collaboration that could one day, completely independent of this project, lead to even greater sparks of internal inspiration for participating youth and artists alike.
And it is also that very basic premise that would ultimately lead us to create the Made Collaborative Scholarship Fund.
The Made Collaborative Scholarship will fund creative pre-collegiate programs that may be attended by urban youth recipients who will be selected by an independent non-profit organization that we have partnered with, Scholarship America. These pre-collegiate programs may be vocational in nature, or they may even award college credit. We will select new pre-collegiate programs to be added to the Made Collaborative Scholarship Fund annually in that regard.
And as a reflection of our central our commitment to the Scholarship, 20% of all comic sales revenues from the Back of the Yards comic series will be contributed directly to the Made Scholarship Fund, to be awarded annually youth selected by an independent third party partner organization, Scholarship America, based on admissions and essay criteria.
The basic idea behind funding these pre-collegiate programs for selected urban youth is essentially the same idea behind the underlying collaborative comic-based project. The hope is that by funding these early opportunities for youth, we may be able to light a few sparks of inspiration during a particularly formative time of their own personal journeys.
And it’s with that context that we are also very happy to announce that our first such selected pre-collegiate program is the Summer at Columbia college program, offered by Columbia College located in our hometown of Chicago, Illinois.
Summer at Columbia program provides an intensive three-week program for high school students interested in exploring the arts, media and communications fields. Participating youth get to enjoy life on campus at the Columbia College Chicago, as well as everything else that the vibrant city of Chicago can offer, and while doing so, explore their own creative development in areas ranging from filmmaking, screenwriting, entrepreneurship, investigative journalism, digital music production, game development, illustration and creative writing.
Last but certainly not least, we are happy to report that the first two Made Collaborative Scholarship Fund recipients were awarded in the Summer of 2019. Unfortunately, one of the two recipients was not able to attend the Columbia College Summer program in 2019 due to family circumstances. However, the second selected youth, who we will call Jacob for his privacy, did attend the program in 2019.
As part of the scholarship application process, Jacob wrote in his essay:
“Growing up, it was difficult for me to connect with other kids through traditional means so creating and telling stories became a way for me to not only understand who I am, but also connect with my friends and family … My favorite ideas often feature and intersection between the fantastical and the mundane and I hope to develop them beyond the notepad one day. I understand that my ideas are ambitious, so in order to make it in the industry, I should enter with a solid education in filmmaking. The Summer at Columbia program would be a good starting point given the Columbia’s reputation and famous alumni.”
Jacob’s experience at the Summer program was a success by all accounts and we are thrilled to further report that after his completion of the Summer program, Jacob applied, and was accepted to the 4-year program at Columbia College where he will continue to develop his filmmaking skills.
We couldn’t be happier to be a small part of Jacob’s personal journey and, with your support, we look forward to helping to facilitate many more such experiences for other youth down the road through the Made Collaborative Scholarship Fund.