City Treasurer’s Scholarship Program Raises Awareness of Economic Barriers Facing Native Americans

November 9, 2022

Brian Berg (312.742.2733/312.282.8260)

Chicago – Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin announced today she has expanded the Heritage Month Scholarship Essay Contest to include Native American Heritage Month. The citywide contests, sponsored by the City Treasurer’s Office in partnership with BMO Harris, award two scholarships to Chicago high school seniors to support the cost of attending their first year of college.

“Chicago is one of the largest Native American urban areas in the entire country,” said City Treasurer Conyears-Ervin. “Celebrating Native American Heritage Month honors the continuing contributions of Native peoples. And the Essay Contest provides an opportunity for high school seniors across the city to consider the economic barriers confronting Native Americans and to explore ways that can help many to build wealth and ensure their long-term financial well-being.”

The City Treasurer’s Essay Contest occurs four times a year during Black History Month, Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and now Native American Heritage Month. It recognizes high school seniors who have displayed outstanding academic achievement or community involvement and who have written thoughtful and impactful essays on a topic related to the respective heritage month. The contests award a $1,500 scholarship to the first- place winner and $1,000 to the second-place winner to help defray the cost of their first year of college.

The Native American Heritage essay question is: “Identify some of the challenges facing Native Americans when it comes to accessing economic opportunities, (e.g., homeownership, starting a small business, saving for college, investing in the stock market, and more) that help build wealth today for tomorrow. Then, based on your own experience and/or research, explain what steps you would take to improve those economic opportunities.”

Scholarship Essay Contest Rules

  • Chicago Public School seniors who are planning to attend a two- or four-year college are encouraged to apply
  • Submissions must include a description of the student’s college plans
  • No minimum GPA is required
  • Essays must be between 600 -1,200 words
  • Chicago Public School students must submit essays at Academic Works

“I look forward to reading the essays and investigating how we can help Chicago’s Native American communities get the resources and financial education information they need to build wealth for today and tomorrow,” added City Treasurer Conyears-Ervin.

About the Treasurer’s Office

The City Treasurer’s Office is the custodian and manager of all cash and investments for the City of Chicago, the four City employee pension funds, and the Chicago Teacher’s Pension Fund. Additionally, the Treasurer’s Office manages financial education and small business development programs in Chicago’s neighborhoods. The City Treasurer is one of three city-wide elected officials in the City of Chicago, along with the Mayor and the City Clerk.