CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Patriot Education Fund, the organization that provides college scholarships, and mentoring to Illinois military families, and Clear Channel Outdoor Americas (CCOA) (NYSE: CCO), an indirect subsidiary of iHeart Media Inc., today announced the Patriot Education Fund has reached a milestone of awarding $500,000 in scholarships to Illinois veterans and their families. Clear Channel Outdoor has been an active supporter of the Patriot Education Fund by donating digital out of home (DOOH) billboards annually to promote scholarships for military veterans. Four local Illinois residents were named as recipients of the Patriot Education Fund’s Clear Channel Outdoor scholarships for 2018.
The Patriot Education Fund provides financial and educational assistance to enlisted military veterans (E1 to E5) and their dependents. The organization bridges the unintended funding gaps created by the post 9/11 GI Bill, by providing financial support to individuals pursuing bachelor and associate degrees, accredited technical training diplomas and certified apprenticeship programs. With a 100 percent graduation rate since 2011, the Patriot Education Fund has underwritten135 scholarships with over $500,000 reinvested back into Illinois military families across the state.
A corporate partner to the Patriot Education Fund since 2013, Clear Channel Outdoor has donated complimentary digital out of home advertising from 2016-2018 throughout Northeast Illinois to promote scholarships for military veterans. The billboards ran creative on how to apply for a scholarship through the Patriot Education Fund in over 30 communities.
“We’re proud to support the mission of the Patriot Education Fund over the last five years,” said Ed Marcin, Vice President Public Affairs/Special Projects, Clear Channel Outdoor Chicago. “The Patriot Education Fund provides our local Illinois veterans and their families with access to the educational opportunities they need as they transition from service to our country into successful careers. We honor our veterans for their dedicated services and are so proud of our scholars as they continue to thrive as students and new professionals.”
“Thanks to key corporate partners like Clear Channel Outdoor, the Patriot Education Fund has raised over $500,000 to provide education benefits for veterans and their families,” said Dave Dahler, Chairman, Patriot Education Fund. “The Patriot Education Fund and Clear Channel Outdoor partnership has ensured that these American heroes will transition successfully into the private sector.”
“Clear Channel Outdoor has been extremely valuable from our inception by raising awareness of our mission and by making veterans aware of valuable scholarship opportunities,” said Mark Slaby, Founder, Patriot Education Fund. “Clear Channel has had a major factor in building awareness of our program and mission to support military families.”
2018 Patriot Education Fund Clear Channel Outdoor Scholarship Recipients
John Leonard Sims of Evergreen Park, Illinois, served as an Army Ranger and was deployed three times to Afghanistan and oversaw training of new Rangers as well as served as a medic. He is in his third semester of college pursuing a degree in Middle Eastern Affairs at Columbia University in New York and has a college GPA of 3.65. John wants to pursue a career with the FBI after college.
John Leonard Sims says: “While the GI Bill has enabled millions of veterans to obtain a college education, it unfortunately does not always cover the true cost of an education. This was a reality that I was faced with when I began attending Columbia University upon my separation from the United States Army. While many veterans must take out thousands of dollars in student loans, I am extremely fortunate in having received a scholarship from the Patriot Education Fund. The Patriot Education Fund is an incredible organization that is dedicated to helping veterans make their post military aspirations a reality. While many organizations claim this as their mission, the Patriot Education Fund is truly dedicated to it. The Patriot Education Fund provides a level of assistance to individual veterans that truly makes an impact on not only their day to day lives but on their futures as well. Since receiving the scholarship, I have been able to dedicate more of my attention to excelling in the classroom and far less time worrying about how I am going to pay for my education. This is all thanks to the Patriot Education Fund and the wonderful work that they are doing.”
Destiny Williams of Chicago, Illinois, is studying Early Childhood Education at Illinois State University and is a Dean’s List student (top 10%). Both of her parents are veterans, her father was deployed four times, and Destiny would like to become an educator of low-income students and eventually hopes to teach fellow military children.
Destiny Williams says: “I am so appreciative to have received the Patriot Education Scholarship. Ever since I won the scholarship I had more time to focus on my academics. Since I started my senior year this semester I have been struggling to find a job to help my dad pay my rent and pay for personal expenses like toiletries, gas money, and groceries. If it weren’t for the scholarship, trying to figure out how to pay for my tuition would have been an extra burden for my family and me. If I did not have this scholarship I might have come out of college with a lot of student loans. Since the salary in the field of education is not super great, the time it would have taken me to pay off the student loans would have been much longer and harder to complete, thus adding yet another burden for my parents and I to worry about. I am truly grateful to have been given the opportunity to receive this scholarship because I know there were a lot of people that applied for it.”
Josue Contreras of Chicago, Illinois, was an Army Combat Medic who was deployed two times. Josue saved for his education -- but when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico - he and his wife used all his savings to help his family members there. Josue is now a Chicago Public School middle school teacher working with students from low income backgrounds. Impacted by the immense gun violence in his hometown of Chicago, Josue changed his course of study from medicine to becoming a teacher because he saw impacting young people as the greatest need. He is working on his Master’s Degree in Dual Language Teacher Leadership at Roosevelt University having previously graduated summa cum laude from Northeastern Illinois University.
Josue says: “My wife saw the billboard advertisement at the Ogilvie train station. To be selected in itself is humbling and a great honor. I am beyond ecstatic that my financial security is squared away because of the Patriot Education Fund. Now I can just focus on working and getting my Master’s degree. You’re donating to a group of Americans who already have proven their worth in gold just simply by raising their right hand and saying that they will defend the Constitution of the United States. You’re investing in people who view America as worth dying for. That mission of serving their country doesn’t die when they get out of uniform. It’s still ingrained in them.”
Leah Staros of Glendale Heights, Illinois, is a 12 year veteran military spouse. Her husband had two deployments to Al Taqqadum, and completed eight years active duty and an additional four years as a reservist. Leah is working to fulfill her dream of becoming a nurse while being a mother and caregiver to a mom who’s in her early stages of dementia. Leah’s requirements outside the classroom make it difficult to fund her pursuit of higher education. The Patriot Education Fund has been “an answer to her prayers.” Her anticipated graduation is May 2019 from the Chamberlain School of Nursing.
Leah says: “I was really unsure how I was going to pay for my final classes as I am out of federal loan funding after this session. I am incredibly grateful for The Patriot Education Fund. The support of PEF has made my education possible. My scholarship is not only an investment in my future but my family’s well-being by lifting our financial burden. I followed my Marine around the world and had to put my education on hold until we settled somewhere long enough to complete my degree. Once we transitioned to the civilian life, financial barriers put my education on hold. PEF erased those barriers. I look forward to graduating with my nursing degree and serving my community!”
For more information on the Patriot Education Fund, please visit: http://www.patrioteducationfund.org/.
About Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc.
Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CCO) is one of the world’s largest outdoor advertising companies with over 450,000 displays in 31 countries across Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America. Reaching millions of people monthly, including consumers in 44 of the top 50 U.S. markets, Clear Channel Outdoor enables advertisers to engage with consumers through innovative advertising solutions. Clear Channel Outdoor is pioneering the integration of out-of-home with mobile and social platforms, and the company’s digital platform includes more than 1,200 digital billboards across 28 markets in the U.S. and more than 13,000 digital displays in international markets. More information is available at www.clearchanneloutdoor.com and www.clearchannelinternational.com.
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About The Patriot Education Fund
The mission of the Patriot Education Fund is to provide financial and educational assistance to enlisted military veterans (E1 to E5) and their dependents. We bridge the unintended funding gaps created by the post 9/11 GI Bill, by providing financial support to individuals pursuing: bachelor and associate degrees, accredited technical training diplomas, and certified apprenticeship programs. We focus our investments in those individuals and families who display financial need, while demonstrating the greatest promise that our investments in their lives will continue to benefit our country and community through their leadership. The Patriot Education Fund is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt, charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to the Patriot Education Fund are deductible under Section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code, and the Fund is qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers, or gifts under Sections 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code.