During the Great Migration, James Chandler Sr. and Ellen Turner moved from Mississippi to Kansas in hopes of giving their eight children a better life with access to a good education.
Years later, one of the eldest siblings, Teola Tillman, wanted to find a way to honor her parents for their commitment to family and education. In 1999, Tillman, along with her two other oldest siblings began giving small book scholarships to local Black students in need of help to further their education.
Over time, the Chandler Turner family received donations to grow the scholarship fund and has given about $50,000 to more than 100 Black Kansas City metro high school students in need who are planning to attend vocational school, community college or a university. The fund became an official nonprofit in 2014.
“I love this way of honoring our parents,” said Bernette Gardner, one of the last three living Chandler Turner siblings. “It also helps with the grieving process and makes us happy to look back and think of dad and mom without all the tears.. It helps remember our parents and older siblings in a special way.
This year, the fund awarded four students with $2,000 scholarships each. The recipients were Damien Agee attending Avila University for nursing, Nasavia Clay attending University of Kansas for neonatal nursing, Lena Otto attending Howard University studying to be a physician and Daija Robinson attending Rochester Institute of Technology studying game design and development.
To apply, graduating senior high school students must submit the online application, a typed essay outlining their goals and financial need, transcript, photo, two letters of recommendation, and proof of continued education enrollment. The application can be submitted online athttps://www.chandlerturnerscholarship.org/cts-application.html.
The deadline to submit the application for next year’s recipients is March 2022 and will be awarded in June at the annual scholarship celebration.
The Chandler Turner Scholarship Fund has several fundraising opportunities including popcorn sales, garage sales and t-shirt and hoodie sales. To keep up with upcoming fundraising opportunities or to donate, visit:https://www.chandlerturnerscholarship.org/.