In a full-circle moment, Minnesota Vikings fullback CJ Ham and his wife, Stephanie, have established a scholarship for students of color in the Twin Ports area.
“Our attention and focus have always been on how we can help give kids in Duluth and surrounding areas the best chance of succeeding in life, and this scholarship fund is going to allow us to help more and more kids every year,” the couple said in a prepared statement announcing the Ham Family Scholarship Fund in partnership with Essentia Health.
In 2011, CJ Ham graduated from Duluth Denfeld High School and received the Steve Rolland Youth Peacemaker Award from the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation. The foundation now will administer the new scholarship fund that he and his wife have established.
“Trailblazers like CJ Ham lead by example and also pay it forward,” foundation President and CEO Shaun Floerke said. “We are grateful to the Ham family for lifting up students of color in the Duluth-Superior area, offering the opportunity to advance their education and achievements through this scholarship. Our community needs each and every child to reach their full potential.”
Applicants must be graduates of or graduating from a Twin Ports-area high school, identify as Black, Indigenous or a person of color, and demonstrate financial need. Schools included are Denfeld, the Duluth Area Learning Center, Duluth East High School, Harbor City International School, Hermantown High School, Lakeview Christian Academy, Marshall School, Proctor High School and Superior High School.
The award covers costs for trade school or a two- or four-year degree. Applications are open on the foundation’s website and close at noon Feb. 15. The scholarship fund will make its first award in the spring.