2018 BTO California Scholarship Application >> CDF-California Beat the Odds Scholarship Application
CDF-California Beat the Odds Scholarship Application
Title:CDF-California Beat the Odds Scholarship Application
2018 Scholarship Application Deadline:03/02/2018

About the Children's Defense Fund

Founded by Marian Wright Edelman, the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) is a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly, since 1973, to ensure a level playing field for all children. We champion policies and programs that lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; and ensure their access to health care, quality education, and a moral and spiritual foundation.

The Children's Defense Fund Beat the Odds® Scholarship program honors outstanding young people who  demonstrate academic commitment, are involved in improving their community while overcoming adversity. Through a competitive review process, we select five deserving high school sophomores from the greater Los Angeles area to receive academic supports geared towards college enrollment and completion.

About the Scholarship

Five students will be selected by the CDF Beat the Odds selection committee and staff. Winners will receive the following:  

  • $10,000 in scholarship monies, allocated during college matriculation; leadership development; career guidance; access to college meet and greets; SAT preparation; assistance with college or post-secondary education enrollment process and other services that will provide academic support during high school and beyond.
  • Induction into the CDF family and continued opportunities to participate in CDF leadership development.
  • Recognition at the annual Beat the Odds Awards gala during their senior year. Professional, autobiographical films of each finalist's story will be produced and shown at the gala. These films may also be shared with the media, sponsors, supporters and the broader public, as well as posted on our website. All applicants MUST be agree to share their stories.
The powerful stories of triumph, courage, determination and hope shared at the annual CDF Beat the Odds Awards ceremony inform CDF efforts to change the odds for children, and serve as a stirring reminder and call to action for change-makers, policymakers, and every one of us to renew our commitment to children.

Eligibility Requirements

For consideration in the CDF-California Beat the Odds Scholarship Program, an applicant must:

  1. Be a current high school sophomore who lives or goes to school in the greater Los Angeles area;
  2. Be nominated by a teacher, counselor, case worker or any other unrelated adult who can speak to applicant's character, commitment to their education, commitment to social justice/community, and the tremendous odds overcome;
  3. Demonstrate progress in overcoming tremendous adversity;
  4. Demonstrate participation in school activities, community organizations, employment, and/or service leadership;
  5. Graduate by July 2020; and
  6. Plan to attend a college, university or vocational school post graduation.

Selection Process

Beat the Odds scholarship applications are reviewed by CDF-California staff and a selection committee that reflects the professional and ethnic diversity of our community. We consider each applicant holistically and within the context of their academic commitment, personal circumstances, available support network, and commitment to service.

Applicants for the Beat the Odds scholarship will be evaluated based upon:

  • A completed application form (see "Apply Now" button below)
  • A personal statement which should tell the applicant's personal story with sufficient details to describe significant hardships/challenges faced; AND how the applicant has, or is, overcoming these challenges; AND volunteer and service leadership experiences; AND academic commitment and other recognitions
  • A recommendation from a teacher, counselor, case worker, or any other unrelated adult who knows the applicant well
  • A high school transcript (must state unweighed GPA)

Notifications will be made between April and June 2018. 

Winners will be interviewed and videotaped to create mini-documentaries designed to raise awareness about the challenges many young people face. These mini-documentaries will be shown at the Beat the Odds Awards annual gala and posted online as part of the CDF YouTube library. Applicants must agree to share their stories publicly.

Submission Deadline

Applications must be received by 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time, on Friday, March 2, 2018.


 Please email cdfca@childrensdefense.org

Thank you for your interest in the CDF-California Beat the Odds Scholarship Program.


CDF-CA Beat the Odds Scholarship Program Team





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