The 1911 Initiative® provides support to local organizations that address the needs of Chicagoland youth and their families. We believe that success in education begins at home, and we ardently work to ensure that students’ basic needs and higher education goals are met and achieved.
Our mission is to disrupt the inequitable social constructs that plague our disenfranchised Chicagoland youth and young adults, providing them opportunities to excel educationally, and to equip them as leaders who will further elevate our communities.
We partner with local non-profits who directly address the needs of our young scholars by providing educational scholarships, mentoring opportunities and basic needs fulfillment. Through our social event fundraisers, we bring our brothers and sisters together to party with the purpose of uplifting future generations of positive social impactors through support of our community partners.
Our vision is a world based on dignity, where every Student has the same opportunity for greatness.
“Live Long & Prosper!”
A native of the south East Side of Chicago, Cortland fell in love with helping those in need when he was only a teenager. Inspired by many childhood friends who were a part of organizations which were actively engaged in community work, Cortland quickly developed a deep passion for charitable work. This resolve stuck with her through college, leading him to join Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity where he continued his desire of community involvement. The eldest of 3 children, Cortland received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in education as well as a master’s in criminal justice.
Cortland went on to continue his love of community and inspiring the youth by teaching in the Chicago Public Schools for almost a decade. That atmosphere of molding and shaping young minds is what inspires him most.
Realizing the best way to organize wonderful people from all over the Chicago area was through the collective love of music and fellowship. Cortland began organizing and sponsoring local events to fundraise money to donate to other organizations centered around education. This eventually grew into “A Stone Cold Groove” an annual party with a purpose garnering several hundred individuals from throughout Chicago coming together to raise money for college bound students. The success of ASCG led to the nonprofit arm of 1911 Initiative.
Today, along with the other awesome board members, he assists in shaping the foundation’s strategies, reviews results, and helps to set the overall direction of the organization. Together, they meet with grantees and partners to further the foundation’s goal of improving equity in the lives of college bound students, especially in Chicago.
Through his work at the foundation over the last few years, Cortland has seen first-hand that empowering students from the inner city can bring transformational improvements in the health and prosperity of families, communities, and societies.
We Invest in people not companies
The 1911 Initiative ® and A STONE COLD GROOVE! ® are not interested in handing out scholarships for the sake of doing so. We want to find individuals and non-profit organizations who have a desire to become change makers for their communities. These candidates are carefully interviewed and vetted to make sure their desires match their work ethic.
As we all know, financial assistance can be difficult to come by and is often given to those who already have built in avenues for success. We want to make
sure those who are the beneficiaries for our assistance are making their presences known not in only in the classroom but with communal sweat equity.
We Develop Change Makers
We are aware of the current image of what success looks like in most communities of color and those which are depressed. We know the American Dream is alive and well in the United States, but it has been colored to resemble one view point.
The 1911 Initiative ® aims to disrupt that narrative by instilling the strength of desire in every one of our scholarship recipients.
We Create Platforms which drives Desire
We launched our initiative so aspiring students anywhere in Illinois can think differently, learn collaboratively and join a community of learners and doers who possess a burning desire to change the
world through activism and participation and who pledge to pay that blessing forward.
Our aim is to help future leaders with the skills, determination and moral imagination to challenge the status quo by offering them the space to critically think about their circumstances and combine that with a much-needed support system and knowledge base so they can begin to unlock their full potential and drive social change through education.