LINK Unlimited Scholars Awarded Grant from NBA Foundation to Expand Fellowship Program for Black Youth in Chicago

LINK Unlimited Scholars receives funding to support Black students with academic enrichment, college access, leadership development and career exposure

CHICAGO, Aug. 8, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — LINK Unlimited Scholars today announced the receipt of a substantial grant awarded by the NBA Foundation that will assist significantly in achieving its mission of providing highly motivated Black students in Chicago with access and opportunities to strengthen their skills to succeed as they advance to, through and beyond college. Through middle and high school fellowships focused on Academic Enrichment, Leadership Development, Career Exposure and College Access, LINK nurtures Scholars to maximize their potential as students, leaders and all of the other identities they embody.

“LINK Unlimited Scholars’ decades-long dedication to providing Black students in Chicago the tools to access opportunity and unlock potential demonstrates the need for school-to-career programs in our communities,” said NBA Foundation Executive Director Greg Taylor. “The NBA Foundation is proud to support LINK Unlimited Scholars in expanding its fellowship program to reach even more future Scholars, and we look forward to its continued impact on the young people it serves.”

Black students in Chicago are disproportionately impacted by systemic and structural forces that impede their ability to access opportunities, gain economic mobility and become community leaders. However, LINK Scholars are outpacing their peers and graduating from college at three times the national rate for Black students (60% vs. 21%). With their four-year college graduation rate of 60% and climbing, LINK is actively addressing this educational gap and cultivating a diverse leadership pipeline in Chicago.

“LINK Unlimited Scholars is deeply grateful to the NBA Foundation for this grant to expand our fellowship program that is literally life-changing for our Scholars and communities,” stated LINK President & CEO Dr. Toinette Gunn. “A bachelor’s degree opens students up to jobs that provide the surest route to a comfortable middle-class lifestyle that will break the cycle of poverty. LINK looks to break down barriers and provide access and opportunity to students who have the potential but lack the necessary resources to excel in a system that was not designed for them.”

For nearly 60 years, LINK Unlimited Scholars has been committed to successfully supporting Scholars throughout the city of Chicago as they move to, through and beyond college. For the past 23 years, 100% of their Scholars have been accepted into selective colleges and universities. In the upcoming year, LINK will support 300+ students. By 2027, they aim to double the number of students they serve and deepen their investment in the city by focusing recruitment in 10 South- and West-side neighborhoods: Auburn-Gresham, Austin, Bronzeville, Englewood, Garfield Park, Greater Grand Crossing, North Lawndale, Roseland, South Shore and Washington Park. These neighborhoods are some of the most under-resourced and comprise the city’s highest crime, poverty and educational disparity rates. By focusing on these neighborhoods, LINK is empowering students to spark generational change within their own communities.

About LINK Unlimited Scholars
For nearly 60 years, LINK Unlimited Scholars has provided Black students with the support and resources to move to, through and beyond college. Through a four- to six-year fellowship focused on academic enrichment, leadership development, career exposure, college advising and mentoring, LINK aims to provide Scholars with tools and resources to reach their full potential, increase their academic profiles, attend college with the smallest debt load possible, graduate from college in four years and be employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of college graduation. For more information, visit

About the NBA Foundation
Created in August 2020, the NBA Foundation is the league’s first-ever charitable foundation dedicated to driving economic opportunity for Black youth. The Foundation invests in local and national organizations that promote school-to-career and workforce development opportunities. For more information visit

Emerald-Jane Hunter
myWHY Agency, Inc
on behalf of LINK Unlimited Scholars

(312) 291-1099