Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr. is pleased to announce that he was presented the U.S. Conference of Mayors “2016 City Livability Award” for Hammond’s College Bound Scholarship Program at a luncheon on Saturday, June 25th in Indianapolis. This is the second time the U.S. Conference of Mayors has recognized the Program. The first time was in 2007 shortly after the Program was created.
The College Bound Scholarship Program was first conceived in 2006. Since its inception, a total of 4,068 awards have been made. In order to receive the award, students must meet the program’s academic and residence criteria. In addition to creating stability amongst single family dwellings, and attracting new home buyers, College Bound generates thousands of hours of community service annually. Each award recipient must complete 40 hours of community service per year. In 2015, recipients performed almost 18,000 hours of community service.
“My goals have always been improving the quality of life for the City, stimulating new economic development and stabilizing our neighborhoods,” stated Mayor McDermott. “I believe this program has helped Hammond accomplish these goals. I also believe that one of the reasons Hammond is now Northwest Indiana’s largest city is because of the creation of this great program.”
In the beginning, the Program was financed through Casino Revenues. Since 2014, the Water Department has taken over the funding with revenues generated from water sales to Illinois communities. At no time were residents taxed for this Program. With the 2016-2017 school year, approximately $35 million in scholarships will have been awarded.
“This program has provided hundreds of students the opportunity to realize a college education that they may not have been able to attain,” stated Sharon Daniels, College Bound Coordinator.
“I realize how important the program is to the City and the impact on students and home ownership,” stated Michael Opinker, City Council President. “The Council was pleased to extend the program another 10 years.”