Dedicated to academic excellence and 1:1 mentoring
Selecting the Class of 2021
Dear Friends,
We are so very proud to announce that we have selected our Class of 2021!  After receiving well over 300 applications and working through a lengthy and rigorous process, HFS Chicago Scholars has invited a record size class of 50 students to the HFS Family.   
We choose our students based on several criteria: prior academic performance, personal essays, letters of recommendation, leadership qualities, a commitment to service and financial need.  Our goal is to provide an opportunity to students that have a need and will take full advantage of what our program offers.
We're more than a scholarship, we are a family that provides scholars with:
  • Individualized academic guidance and 1:1 mentoring
  • Educational enrichment and leadership development activities
  • College readiness and admissions support

We are also growing as an organization!  With additional students, we are seeking additional staff to support them.  We are planning to hire a part-time Director of Academics, and a full-time Director of Operations for the next school year.  So that we continue to provide the highest quality to our students, we maintain a ratio of 1:25 for each of our Directors of Academics. This means that our students receive the greatest amount of attention and service possible while a scholar in our program. If you are interested in joining our team or know someone who would be a great fit, please visit our website for more information,
The old proverb “It Takes a Village” is very true… We owe our growth and unwavering success to our dedicated Board of Directors, Young Professionals Board, Mentors, Volunteers, Staff, and Supporters like you.  I am very proud and humbled to serve our families and truly appreciate each of you.
With Sincere Gratitude,
Desiree Pepper-Venzant
Executive Director
16th Annual Rock-N-Bowl a Huge Success, Raising $36,000!
West Monroe Partners reign as champions for 7th straight year!
Thank you to all who supported this event by purchasing lanes and raffle tickets, donating raffle prizes and coming out to bowl.  We had a great time and truly appreciate your generosity!
A special thanks to Board of Directors Joe Dimberio and Chris Raub for
co-chairing this event for the past 16 years.  We are truly and sincerely grateful!
HFS Poker & Casino Night
Friday, May 12, 2017
Galleria Marchetti
Looking for an opportunity to dress up, spend a night out on the town and help change the life of a student?  Join us!!
Catching Up With Board of Director
Mark McCarville
Mark McCarville has more than 30 years of experience in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions and strategy development.  He had a 26-year career as a senior officer at the Sara Lee Corporation with responsibilities for various treasury and tax functions, as well as, directing worldwide acquisition/divestment activities.  He is a co-founder of Braydon Partners LLC, an advisory firm working with mid market companies to address strategic and growth issues.  McCarville is an alumnus of Loras College, class of '68, where he has continued to be active, and was recently honored with an award for Professional Achievements and Contributions Made to Loras College.  He received his MBA from The University of Iowa.
Why did you want to become involved with HFS?
I had been a supporter of HFS for a number of years when Mike Kennelly approached me about serving on the Board.  I was happy to agree to serve since finding ways to provide academic opportunities for disadvantaged kids was something I had been interested in for some time.  I found that HFS had a highly successful model evidenced by the progress the scholars were consistently making.  Mike outlined a vision for a growing, dynamic organization and was looking for individuals who were willing to help him advance that vision. I decided I wanted to be part of that.
How do the HFS scholars provide inspiration in your life?
The stories of the commitment these young scholars have made in order to achieve a quality education are inspiring.  They and their families overcome difficult economic and social challenges to pursue an academic career at a top school, making many sacrifices in order to realize their academic goals. The scholars not only succeed academically but they are active in their schools and provide needed support in their communities.
What is a favorite HFS memory?
Clearly, participating in the interview day is my favorite memory.  Meeting the kids, a little nervous but still finding the strength to convince me that they were the right scholar for the program.  They take pride in their accomplishments and describe a future that includes a willingness to work to be successful in a challenging high school program and ultimately moving on to college.
Fun facts, personal hobbies and interests?
I was born and raised in Iowa but have been a long time resident of the Chicago area.  Married to my wife Kathy, we have four children and seven grandchildren.  Retired from the corporate world. I have been involved in a number of organizations including Metropolitan Family Services, Catholic Charities of Chicago, Evanston Community Foundation, Northlight Theatre, Chronic Care International and Loras College.
Young Professionals Board Spotlight On
Lindsay Stone
Lindsay Stone is a Manager in the Dispute Advisory and Forensic Services group at Stout Risius Ross, Inc.  Lindsay graduated from Miami University with a degree in finance.  Lindsay has been a mentor for three years and has been an active member of the YPB for four years.  She is the current co-chair of the YPB’s Scholar Selection Committee.
Why did you get involved in HFS Chicago Scholars?
I became involved in HFS Chicago Scholars after attending the Leadership Breakfast several years ago.  After learning more about HFS, I was moved by the cause and knew that I had to get involved.  I started as a Young Professionals Board member, and after one year I decided to also become a mentor as I wanted to become fully integrated into the HFS program.
What is a personal highlight from serving on the Young Professionals Board?
There is no better feeling than witnessing an effective end-result after months of hard work.  Additionally, it is exciting to work with other passionate individuals and witness their impact on HFS over time.  A personal highlight from serving on the Young Professionals Board has been working with my team the past three months to take on more responsibility during the scholar selection process and observing the successful implementation of some new processes this year.
Have there been any challenges to serving on the Young Professionals Board?
Personally, my greatest challenge to serving on the Young Professionals Board has been balancing work, personal life, and YPB commitments.  At times, all three things can be unpredictable and can pick-up at once.  This is something that we all go through, and I have found that having a great committee to lean on during overly busy times is key.  We help each other when needed, and it is a testament to the type of individuals that I have the pleasure of serving with on the YPB.
What is a personal highlight from serving as a Mentor?
A personal highlight from serving as a Mentor has been experiencing the growing bond with my scholar.  She is now a junior in high school, and she is thriving.  She doesn’t realize that she teaches me as much as I teach her, and I am incredibly grateful for the time I get to spend with her.  I am constantly blown away by the intelligence, commitment, and drive of the scholars.  They truly are remarkable individuals!
How have you been impacted through your experiences as a Mentor and a member of the YPB?
Through my experiences as both a Mentor and a member of the Young Professionals Board, I have learned that you always end up getting back so much more than you put in.  HFS has made me more in touch with the needs of young students in the City of Chicago.  It has made me grateful for the friendships that I have made while helping out, and it has taught me that giving back truly can make a difference in the lives of others.​​ 
2nd Quarter Scholar/Mentor Event Focuses On:
1) Meditation, Fitness & Health
2) Financial Literacy
3) Social Media (Dos and Dont's)
4) Community Service
The scholars had a great time with their mentors working through a number of activities, including stretching exercises, learning how to read a bank statement, how to deal with the continuouse presence of social media in their lives, and talking about areas of concern in their communities and what they can do to help.
Fund Our Growing Program When You Shop on Amazon
Visit and enter "HFS Chicago Scholars" as your designated charity and .05% of your purchase will go to HFS!
HFS Chicago Scholars provides financial assistance and mentoring to economically 
disadvantaged Chicago inner-city high school students who show academic and leadership promise to achieve their educational goals.