The Iron Maidens Stay Strong Scholarship was created to help women who don't have access to financial aid pay for higher-level education.
The money we raise pays for 80% of college tuition for undocumented students, Dreamers, and women who have been victims of predatory for-profit colleges. Students in these financial situations have no access to financial aid dollars and the undocumented students are ineligible for most scholarships.
Rather than selecting recipients based on common criteria such as grades or academic achievement, this scholarship rewards persistence—the grit and determination to keep going during hard times. We believe this recognizes and addresses the reality our students face, and also captures the essence of the Iron Maidens Competition.
Now, more than ever, we are proud to be giving this necessary support to undocumented women who are working to improve their lives through education.
Grace Outreach is a women’s education and career nonprofit located in the South Bronx. We have been strengthening the Bronx community for over a decade by working with women to attain their High School Equivalency degrees, go to college, and find living wage jobs.
To date over 1,300 women have earned their High School Equivalency diplomas with us; 300 women have completed our College Program and matriculated at CUNY; over 150 women placed in vocational training programs; and 150 women placed in jobs through our Career Program.
The Stay Strong Scholarship is unique in its criteria of acceptance:
- We recognize academic commitment and do not require an entry level GPA from applicants
- Awards are granted on a rolling basis — students who face sudden financial hardship can apply at any time of the year
- Students are eligible regardless of how many college credits they have accumulated
- Students are notified within 2 months if they receive an award, and funds are available immediately
- Grace Outreach provides ongoing mentorship for scholarship recipients through college
We've raised over $65,000
In total, we've raised over $65,000 and have supported 10 women as they pursue higher education. Our goal for the first annual Iron Maidens in 2016 was to raise $20,000 through competitors’ crowd fundraising efforts – we far surpassed it by raising over $30,000. With that money we sent 7 women to college in 2016.
In 2017 alone, our competitors raised over $35,000 in scholarship money.
Just two years after Iron Maidens and Grace Outreach started the Stay Strong Scholarship we have graduated two students with Associate Degrees! Both of those students have moved on to bachelors programs at John Jay College and Lehman College with continued support from the Stay Strong Scholarship.
We currently have five students making their way through Hostos Community College, Bronx Community College, and Borough of Manhattan Community College. All women have GPAs over 3.0 and two will graduate with their Associate degrees this semester. The women pursuing degrees are studying in the fields of criminal justice, business administration, sociology, early childhood education, and health sciences.
One student wrote to thank Iron Maidens supporters after graduating with her Associates Degree:
For more information about Grace Outreach and the Stay Strong Scholarship, reach out to Danae McLeod, Executive Director at Grace Outreach.