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Catto Scholarship Event

For the Good of the City: Achieving Economic Opportunity for All through the Octavius Catto Scholarship

Join us on May 14, 2024, for an event hosted by the Mayor’s Office of Education, Community College of Philadelphia, and Research for Action, focusing on the Octavius Catto Scholarship initiative and aimed at fostering economic opportunity for all Philadelphians. Discover the initiative’s impact, explore opportunities for partnership, support the free college movement, and honor Octavius Catto’s legacy of educational empowerment.

The Mayor’s Office of Education, Community College of Philadelphia, and Research for Action invite you to join us on May 14, 2024, for a convening to identify opportunities to collaboratively achieve economic opportunity for all Philadelphians through the Community College of Philadelphia’s Octavius Catto Scholarship initiative.

In 2021, the City of Philadelphia launched the Catto Scholarship as a major anti-poverty initiative designed to put more Philadelphians on the path to success. Today, there are more than 1,600 Catto Scholars and close to 2,500 residents who have benefited from the initiative. During this event, you will learn about the scholarship and its early successes. We will also work together to consider how you and your organization can help to enhance its impact.

There are at least four areas of opportunity for strategic partnership between you, your organization, and the Catto Scholarship initiative, including:

  • Promoting the Catto Scholarship to your students and constituents,
  • Offering employment and internship opportunities for Catto Scholars,
  • Providing enhanced support to Catto Scholars transferring to four-year colleges and universities, and
  • Advancing policy to support the Catto Scholarship and the Free Community College movement.

On May 10, 1864, Octavius Catto, a Philadelphia educator, intellectual, and activist, delivered a speech in south Philadelphia to the Institute for Colored Youth’s graduating class (what is now known as Cheyney University), challenging listeners to prepare and empower successive generations “for the good of the nation.” This inspirational address made the point that providing access to quality education, especially for those struggling in our communities, would be “for the good of the nation.”

On May 14, 2024, we continue to lean into Catto’s famous address and consider his message in our context, “For the Good of the City.”

*Breakfast will be served.



Event Speakers


  • Debora Carrera, Ph.D., Chief Education Officer, City of Philadelphia
  • Donald Generals, Ph.D., President, Community College of Philadelphia
  • David Thomas, Ph.D., Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Community Engagement, Community College of Philadelphia
  • Seth Jacobson, Ph.D., Associate Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Community Engagement, Community College of Philadelphia
  • Kri Burkander, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate, Research for Action
  • Saxon Nelson, Director of Community Engagement, Research for Action

Special Keynote Address

Senator Vincent Hughes


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