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Herb Kohl Foundation Award - Initiative Scholarship

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The stories of Herb Kohl Initiative Scholars share a constant theme: defying the odds. The award recipients embody the skills and perseverance necessary to overcome life’s obstacles at an early age. From losing a parent in a car accident, to a cancer diagnosis as a freshman, to becoming a parent at an early age, or being the first in their family to continue their education past high school, the Herb Kohl Initiative Scholars continue to excel, despite the hurdles they face.

While some know of the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Student Excellence Scholarships for high school seniors, not as many know about the companion scholarship—the Herb Kohl Student Initiative Scholarships.

What is the Initiative Scholarship?

Each year, the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation selects 100 different public and private high schools to offer a $10,000 Student Initiative Scholarship. The Initiative Scholarship recognizes and rewards a graduating high school senior for showing tremendous perseverance, effort, and dedication to graduate, despite significant challenges on their journey. Recipients of the Initiative scholarship are selected locally, through an internal selection process, by their teachers, counselors, and school administrators. Every high school in Wisconsin, including alternative and virtual schools, receives an Initiative Scholarship once every seven years.

Selecting a Recipient

The intent of the Initiative Scholarship is to recognize students putting forth extraordinary effort to excel and overcome significant obstacles on the road to graduation, but their class rank or GPA may make them ineligible for academic scholarships.

Successful candidates are often the kind of student who has a story that brings a tear to your eye; a student who has struggled and succeeded despite long odds or many challenges. School counselors, school social workers, and other pupil services professionals from within the school community are encouraged to be a part of the selection process and conversation.

The Initiative Scholarship is meant to be transformative for a student, and possibly their family, as the student graduates and moves onto the next phase of life. High schools selected each year to participate are encouraged to identify a student that would benefit from the Initiative Scholarship funds to continue their educational journey.

Recipients will be formally notified of their selection by the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation in March, 2018, and honored at a regional recognition banquet in April, 2018. The $10,000 scholarships will be awarded in spring, 2018 and made available to students through their selected higher education institution in late summer, 2018.

For more information

To see a list of high schools that will be conferring a Herb Kohl Student Initiative Scholarship, please visit

High school seniors may now apply for the Herb Kohl Student Excellence scholarship. You can still nominate a talented teacher for the Herb Kohl Teacher Fellowship or an outstanding principal for the Herb Kohl Leadership Award before October 6, 2017.