What is the OPALGA+
Student Scholarship Fund?

Young LGBTQIA+ people face unique challenges in high school and college. OPALGA+ is committed to providing support to the next generation of community leaders. The OPALGA+ Student Scholarship Fund provides financial support for continuing education of local LGBTQIA+ students who have demonstrated service and advocacy to the LGBTQIA+ community and/or the larger community. Scholarships are in varying amounts up to $5,000, paid directly to the college or program the student plans to attend.  APPLICATIONS FOR 2023 SCHOLARSHIPS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THIS PAGE BY EARLY NOVEMBER 2022.


1. Identify as an LGBTQIA+* person or be the child of an LGBTQIA+* person or an ally
2. Be a graduating high school senior or completing your first year in higher education and planning to enter the second year. Preference will be given to candidates graduating high school and to those who have not previously been awarded an OPALGA+ scholarship
3. Reside in one of the following suburbs:

  • Berwyn
  • Broadview
  • Brookfield
  • Cicero
  • Elmwood Park
  • Forest Park
  • Maywood
  • Melrose Park
  • North Riverside
  • Oak Park
  • River Forest
  • Riverside

OR the Chicago zip codes 60707, 60623, 60624, 60639, 60644, or 60651 (Austin, Galewood, North Lawndale, West Garfield Park, and parts of Belmont Cragin, Hermosa, Humboldt Park, and Montclare).

4. Have applied or been accepted to a 4-year or 2-year degree program or trade school/certificate program


  • Scholarship application for 2023 School Year
  • One essay describing the student’s service/advocacy for the LGBTQIA+ community or larger community
  • Two or more letters of recommendation from those with knowledge of the student’s service and character

Scholarship recipients will be chosen based on the strength of the essays, recommendations, service and other activities.

OPALGA+ 2023 Student
Scholarship Fund 

OPALGA+ awards annual student scholarships for the continuing education of LGBTQ students, the children of LGBTQIA+ parents, or their friends or allies. Total scholarship awards each year depend on the success of our fundraising. Scholarship money is paid directly to the school or institution a student plans to attend. Graduating high school students, or continuing college or trade school students are eligible. We are looking for students who have shown service, activism, and an understanding of the LGBTQ community.

If you would like to donate to the 2023 Student Scholarship Fund, please click on the Paypal button below:

Meet the 2022 winners

Marty Cowherd, Chicago

  • High school: Noble Johnson College Prep, Chicago
  • College: University of Chicago, Chicago

Montasia “Tasia” Curry, Chicago

  • High school: Proviso East, Maywood
  • College: University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana

Madeleine Falkenholm, Oak Park

  • High school: Trinity, River Forest
  • College: Loyola University, Chicago

Marielle Janosky, Oak Park

  • High school: Oak Park River Forest
  • College: Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois

David Martinez, Berwyn

  • High school: Morton West, Berwyn
  • College: Concordia University, River Forest

Sophia Pacheco, Brookfield

  • High school: Fenwick, Oak Park
  • College: Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska

Ana Shack, River Forest

  • High school: Oak Park River Forest
  • College: Illinois Institute of Technology

Watch the student scholarship
award winners at the
2021 Scholarship Gala!