What is the OPALGA+
Student Scholarship Fund?

The OPALGA+ Student Scholarship Fund provides financial support for continuing education of local, Cook County Illinois, LGBTQ+ students and allies who have demonstrated service and advocacy to the LGBTQ+ community and/or the larger community. Scholarships are $5,000 each paid directly to the college or program you plan to attend.

APPLICATIONS FOR $5000 SCHOLARSHIPS FOR THE 2024-’25 SCHOOL YEAR WILL OPEN IN OCTOBER 2023 AND BE DUE BY JANUARY 31, 2024.  Applications for 2023-’24 scholarships closed on February 28, 2023. If you have any questions, please send an email to scholarship@opalga.org.


  1. Identify as an LGBTQ+ person or be the child of an LGBTQ+ person or be an LGBTQ+ ally.
  2. Be a graduating high school senior applying to a 4-year or 2-year degree program or trade school/certificate program.
  3. Reside in one of the following municipalities (updated for 2024-’25 applications): Bellwood, Berkeley, Berwyn, Broadview, Brookfield, Chicago, Cicero, Elmwood Park, Forest Park, Forest View, Franklin Park, Harwood Heights, Hillside, La Grange, La Grange Highlands, La Grange Park, Lyons, Maywood, McCook, Norridge, North Riverside, Northlake, Oak Park, River Forest, River Grove, Riverside, Rosemont, Schiller Park, Stickney, Stone Park, Summit, Westchester, or Western Springs.


  1. Scholarship application found at www.opalga.org/scholarship-application/
  2. One essay describing your service/advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community or larger community.
  3. Two or more letters of recommendation from those with knowledge of your service and character.

Scholarship recipients will be chosen based on the strength of the essays, recommendations, demonstration of dedication to service, involvement in other activities, and their unique personal circumstances.

Prior-year recipients of OPALGA+ scholarships may be eligible to receive the Jan Grillos Memorial Scholarship Award for Continuing OPALGA+ Scholars while they are still enrolled in their program. The Scholarship Committee will reach out to 2023-’24 Continuing Scholars with more details.

OPALGA+ 2023 Student
Scholarship Fund 

Over $30,000 was raised as part of our 2022 Scholarship Gala to support the continuing education of LGBTQ+ youth. In 2023, OPALGA+ decided to award $40,000 in scholarships for 2023-’24. If you would like to donate to the 2024-’25 Student Scholarship Fund, please click on the Paypal button below:

Meet some of the 2023 Scholarship Recipients

Meet the 2023 winners

John Caceres (they/he), Oak Park

  • High school: Oak Park River Forest High School, Oak Park
  • College: Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Illinois

Vic Coutee (he/they), Chicago

  • High school: Pritzker College Prep, Chicago
  • College: Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois

Marty Cowherd (he/him), Chicago

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

Emily Gonzalez (she/her), Chicago

  • High school: Pritzker College Prep, Chicago
  • College: Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois

Annie Larson (she/her), Oak Park

  • High school: Fenwick High School, Oak Park
  • College: Georgetown University, Washington D.C.

Taylor Montes-Williams (she/her), Oak Park

  • High school: Oak Park River Forest High School, Oak Park
  • College: University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

Venus Obazuaye (they/them), Forest Park

  • High school: Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Aurora, Illinois
  • College: University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Lissette Torres (she/her), Chicago

  • High school: Prosser Career Academy, Chicago
  • College: Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois