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Keeping Promises Essay Scholarships

New Haven Promise is proud to offer Passport to Promise, a competitive scholarship for students with cumulative, weighted, GPAs between 2.5-2.99. This scholarship is designed to recognize students who have demonstrated a strong work ethic and resource-seeking skills, which have enabled them to improve their grades during their high school career.

Promise will award a maximum of 20 one-time scholarships in the amount of $1,000. This money will be distributed evenly over two semesters directly to your in-state school toward the cost of tuition. Passport recipients who maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher each semester of their freshman year will be eligible for a full Promise Scholarship in subsequent years.

Eligibility Rules

  • You are a New Haven resident in the New Haven public school system as of October 1st of your 9th grade year.
  • You have great civic behavior in grades 9-12, including a positive disciplinary record, a minimum of 40 hours of community service, and 90% attendance or better during high school (meaning no more than 72 absences).

Selection Criteria

Scholarship winners will be selected based on:

  • Strong attendance record, determined by number of absences and tardies
  • Minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA (weighted), with an upward trend over the last three years of high school
  • Strong work ethic and resource-seeking skills as demonstrated in student essay and teacher/counselor recommendation
  • Please note: Only complete applications will be considered. All student materials must be received by Dec. 31st and letters of recommendation must be received by March 31st.

How to apply

  • At the end of the New Haven Promise Scholarship application, there will be button to click if you are interested in completing the Passport to Promise application as well. There is a box for your 350-word essay which should describe your academic strengths and challenges. You should also tell us what you’ll do in college to make sure you maintain a C average (2.0 GPA) in college. Be specific!
  • You will also be asked some basic information about your recommender. You should request such a letter well in advance from the teacher, counselor or administrator who has particular insight to your background and commitment as a student. The letter of recommendation must be submitted by March 31st. The letter of recommendation should tell us specifically about:
    1. The student’s academic strengths.
    2. The student’s academic challenges.
    3. The student’s work ethic and resource-seeking skills.

Winners to Ride on 2018 Rose Parade® Float Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on New Year’s Day

ESSAY DEADLINE: Monday, November 27th

AHF and the Heather Heyer Foundation continue call for entries in a nationwide youth essay contest posing the question: “What are you doing to stand against hate in your community?”

3 winning essayists (ages 14-20) will receive $5,000 for education or community projects and will ride on a 2018 Rose Parade® float honoring MLK with Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer, a civil rights advocate and protester who lost her life during a violent Charlottesville white supremacy demonstration.


LOS ANGELES (November 21, 2017) As Thanksgiving approaches and people around the nation are gathering and reflecting on the meaning of family and community, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and The Heather Heyer Foundation continue their call for entries in a nationwide ‘StandAganst Hate’ youth essay contest through which three winning essayists (ages 14-20) will earn $5,000 scholarships or grants for community projects. The three top essayists—representing the next generation of American activists and community leaders—will also be flown to Los Angeles and have the singular opportunity to ride on AHF’s 2018 Rose Parade® float honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his death.

Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer, a civil rights advocate and counter-protester who lost her life during a violent white supremacy demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this year, will be among the judges of the essays and will also ride on the float with the three young essay contest winners.

The youth essay contest asks the question: “What are you doing to stand against hate in your community?” Essay submissions must be between 500-1,000 words each, and the deadline for essay submissions is now Monday, November 27th. Entry is free, and essayits can find more information about the contest and upload their entries here:

This is the seventh year that AHF will take part in the Rose Parade®. AHF’s 2018 float is titled ‘Keeping the Promise,’ and will highlight community heroes by honoring the courage and sacrifice of civil rights and social justice activists and advocates throughout history—from iconic Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Ms. Heyer, who was tragically killed in the violent white supremacy demonstrations in Charlottesville, VA earlier this year.

“My daughter Heather stood bravely for unity and against hate and always believed in dialogue and discussion as the keys to peace,” said Susan Bro, mother of slain activist Heather Heyer and Co-founder of the Heather Heyer Foundation. “We are honored to continue Heather’s legacy by partnering with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and encouraging young people across the country to promote peace.”

“As families and friends gather to celebrate around their Thanksgiving tables this week, and many young people enjoy time off from school, work or other pursuits, we thought it a perfect time for young advocates, activists and future community leaders to reflect on what they are doing today to stand against hate in their own communities and what they are doing to foster and promote peace and community,” said Alfred Wilson, director and co-founder of the Heather Heyer Foundation. “Thanksgiving offers both inspiration—and an additional few days—for young people to dig deep and share with us some stellar essay submissions from anywhere around the nation.”

“This year marks the 30th Anniversary of AHFs founding. Fighting for the voiceless and winning remains the cornerstone of our Foundation. As both a public health and social justice organization, we will continue to Stand Against Hate in all its forms. The Youth of today are raising their voices for change, and through this youth in action essay contest and think tank, AHF will help ensure that their voices are empowered and heard. We value partnering with the Heather Heyer Foundation, and other leading celebrities, influencers, and activist as together we fight to win equality for all. It is attainable. This is just the beginning,” said Samantha Granberry, Vice President of AHF Worldwide Marketing Division.

Background on #StandAgainstHate

In the three days immediately following the attack on Charlottesville, AHF launched its #StandAgainstHate campaign both to honor those who were already standing up in the current white supremacist environment (like Heather) and as a call to action for others to join her in standing up to hate. AHF spread the message to #StandAgainstHate with billboards, a robust social media campaign, and town halls in Los Angeles; Miami; Brooklyn, New York and Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio.  AHF worked tirelessly in and with these communities to honor those who have lost their lives, inspire the community, and work toward salving the wounded spirit of a divided America.

Background on AHF’s 2018 Rose Parade® Float

The AHF float will recreate the Edmund Pettus Bridge, which King and other icons of the civil rights movement marched across in 1965 in what became known as ‘Bloody Sunday,’ when armed policemen attacked civil rights demonstrators with billy clubs and tear gas. Rising at the back of the float will be a rendering of Lei Yixin’s ‘Stone of Hope’ granite statue of MLK. AHF and Heather Heyer Foundation officials also believe that its “Keeping the Promise” theme effectively dovetails with this year’s official Tournament of Roses  theme: “Making A Difference.”

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