Every year, the University of Chicago recognizes one of its many exemplary community-based partners through an award called the Community-Based Organization of the Year. Community-based organizations (CBOs) are absolutely vital resources and advocates for their students, and invaluable partners to institutions of higher education. CBOs are organizations of their communities, for their communities, and by their communities. UChicago partners with hundreds of CBOs each year to provide students with opportunities to engage with admissions counselors and current UChicago students, connect them with information and resources about higher education and the college application process, and support them to and through college.
The University of Chicago is excited to announce that this year’s Community-Based Organization of the Year is Palouse Pathways. Under the leadership of Peggy Jenkins, Palouse Pathways has been an incredible resource for rural and small-town students in rural Idaho and Washington since 2013. As the founding director of Palouse Pathways and co-founder of NACAC’s 1300-member Rural and Small Town Special Interest Group, Peggy is a trailblazer in this field. Palouse Pathways was created to be a collaborative space to allow teachers, parents, and community members in the Palouse to come together and create a stronger college-going culture for their students. Palouse Pathways provides its students with a wide variety of college access opportunities, including information sessions with colleges and universities across the nation, family-specific financial aid counseling, and personalized post-secondary guidance for students.
In 2018, the University of Chicago launched the Empower Initiative, which introduced an enhanced admissions process, increased financial support, and specialized programming in order to increase access for a wide range of underrepresented students, including first-generation and rural students through the Emerging Rural Leaders program. Palouse Pathways has been an incredible partner for the Emerging Rural Leaders program over the past two years, and we look forward to continuing to support their amazing work in the future.