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Oakland Small Business Owner Starts Scholarship Program for Underserved High School Students

First Scholarships Being Presented on Thursday to 42 Students in Oakland Unified School District

Oakland, CA, May 10, 2016 --( Believing that every individual deserves a chance to succeed in life and earn a good education, Tracy Craig, founder of Craig Communications, is launching a scholarship program for underserved high school students in Oakland and awarding the first scholarship checks at a special event this Thursday, May 12.

When the program was announced in March, Craig was planning to award 25 $1,000 scholarships. After receiving 42 nominations for students with notable achievements and inspiring stories, Craig decided to give scholarships to all of the nominees.

“I believe in giving back to our community and, since starting my business in 2000, have donated a portion of my company’s profits to local charities,” said Craig. “While sitting through a fundraising event, I decided to make a difference at a grassroots level by providing financial support to underserved high school students who might otherwise not be considered for a scholarship. What we hope to show with this program is that if our agency of less than a dozen employees can do this, so too can larger companies. We invite them to join us in this effort next year and in the years to follow.”

Craig made the criteria and nomination process simple to encourage participation. Students needed to:

- Identify as a person of color or member of the LGBTQ community
- Have a good attendance record and 2.5 or higher Grade Point Average
- Be in the 12th grade attending an Oakland high school, or be actively involved in Girls Inc. or Civicorps or attending a community college

The nomination process required school teachers, principals, or counselors to identify and recommend students who met the criteria and have plans for higher education. Nominators then submitted one-page forms that were reviewed by an advisory committee made up of local leaders:

- Tracy Craig, Founder of Craig Communications
- Rob Bonta, California State Assembly Member, 18th District (D, Oakland)
- Lynette Gibson McElhaney, Oakland Council Member, District 3
- Chris Iglesias, Chief Executive Officer, Unity Council
- Lamar Hancock, Program Specialist, Oakland Tech High School

“As the Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color in California, I’m excited to support this effort and all efforts to improve the lives of students in the Oakland Unified School District—so many of whom are young people of color,” said Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D, Oakland). “I encourage more businesses to take the lead by creating scholarship opportunities that will make a transformative difference in the lives of our kids.”

“I am thrilled that Tracy Craig is making these scholarships possible and has invited me to be part of the Scholarship Advisory Committee,” said Oakland City Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney. “This is exactly the type of community giving that can make a real difference in the life of someone who needs a little help.”

In addition to providing scholarships, the students have the option to be mentored by an advisory committee member.

“This is the kind of scholarship program that can make the difference for a first-generation college student,” said Chris Iglesias, Chief Executive Officer of the Unity Council. “There are still many families in the Bay Area to whom college is inaccessible without community philanthropy.”

"It takes a village to raise a child. Craig Communications’ investment in the young minds of Oakland Unified School District adds to the village expanding,” said Lamar Hancock, program specialist at Oakland Tech High School. “For this, we are grateful."

Editor’s Note: The scholarships will be given to the students on May 12 at an awards ceremony at the Waterfront Hotel in Jack London Square, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Please send an invitation request to if you are a reporter who wants to attend the event.

About Craig Communications
Craig Communications is a small, woman-owned communications consulting firm headquartered in Oakland that provides community organizing, outreach and education services in support of large-scale, often sensitive, land use and environmental remediation projects. For more information, visit:
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Craig Communications
Lori Sinsley

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