Kendall College Trust, a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit providing financial support to students at Kendall College, announced a positive year of growth as it continues fostering the next generation of hospitality leaders. Since its inception in 2008, the Trust has donated over two million dollars in scholarship funds while expanding its mission with new resources, programming, and services. After a monumental year, including the creation of its first individual endowment program, the organization looks forward to an exciting 2017 as it establishes more opportunities for students in need from across the world.
Kendall College Trust provides need-based financial assistance to Kendall College students pursuing degrees in hospitality, culinary arts, and business. Growing over the past decade, the Trust now offers 15 scholarships from donors ranging from US Foods to Rick Bayless’ Frontera, all under the tutelage of an expanded board of 11 dedicated members. Through the support of donors, many of whom are former students, the Trust assists hundreds of students in graduating from one of the nation’s premier culinary schools. Looking ahead to the New Year, the Trust plans to amplify its reach through the addition of new board members, donors, and fundraising efforts.
In 2014, Catherine De Orio, a natural leader in Chicago’s food community, was appointed Executive Director, overseeing programming, fundraising, and scholarships, and ultimately driving the Trust into the future. Under De Orio’s leadership, the not-for-profit has increased its corpus by more than 25%, awarded over $550,000 in scholarship funds and created an individual endowment program, now consisting of $350,000 in funding. A former Kendall College student, De Orio works to enhance programming and fundraising initiatives, with the goal of helping more students each year. She also plays an integral role in event development, including the signature Fried Chicken & Champagne Fest, continuing to be more successful year after year. With the launch of new enterprises and partnerships, the Trust aims to make a difference in every stage of a student’s journey, from the beginning of their education to after graduation.
One of the Trust’s most exciting new initiatives is a partnership with Chicago Public Schools and C-CAP (Careers Through Culinary Arts Program), a national nonprofit that works in conjunction with CPS preparing students for careers in the culinary and hospitality industries. Through the partnership, the Trust assists underprivileged students in the community to attend a special summer culinary camp at Kendall College. Helmed by De Orio, the program introduces culinary skills to high school students in underserved areas of Chicago. This next year, the Trust aims to grow the program by partnering with local organizations and offering different levels based on skillset and experience. Aside from the camp, the overall goal is to create a vocational track beginning with early age activities and going through the college level, followed by a mentorship program assisting students into the workforce.
“Students who apply for scholarships are trying to better their lives, and we are lucky because we can actually help make a difference,” says De Orio. “As we continue to build and grow the Trust, we look forward to giving away more impactful scholarships, building out our culinary camp, and developing new ways to foster the growth of our program, and in turn our students. It’s all about creating a sustainable cycle for our students, and we plan on achieving this goal by building a strong foundation while growing the culinary and hospitality leaders of tomorrow.”
With plans to increase the amount of funding in the coming years, the Trust aims to create new systems and resources, focusing on setting students up for future success. In the next year, the organization aims to add new board members and launch an auxiliary board, offering the younger generation an opportunity to play a role in the decision making process with a focus on events and social outreach. As it continues to grow and develop, Kendall College Trust propels more students forward in reaching their dreams of becoming leaders in the hospitality and culinary industries.