Governor's Coalition for Youth with Disabilities

A Coalition of Business, Education, and Government

In 1994, a group of individuals approached the Governor with a request to establish a coalition committed to raising scholarship funds to encourage high school seniors with disabilities to further their academic goals. The Governor wholeheartedly endorsed the idea and ďGovernorís Coalition for Youth with DisabilitiesĒ was born. Since its inception GCYD has given over 200 scholarships totaling more than $600,000.

The GCYD Board has grown from seven to 14 members, all volunteers, with representatives from business, government, education, the disability community, and advocates for people with disabilities. Funds for scholarships are raised from business, government, educational institutions, and private donations.

Scholarships Awarded throughout the State

All scholars receiving a GCYD scholarship attend post-secondary institutions in Connecticut and throughout the United States. Scholarships are awarded statewide based on Connecticutís five congressional districts to ensure equal distribution. A typical scholarship had been $1,000 per year. However, over the years GCYD has been fortunate to be able to increase scholarship awards, which now range from $500 to $5,000. In addition, the State University System awards an annual scholarship of $500 per semester renewable for up to eight semesters to an eligible matriculated scholar attending each of the four State Universities.

May 2003 marked the commencement of the Connecticut Community College Systems' annual GCYD scholarship awards. The scholarships have been increased in 2006 to a full tuition and fee scholarship offered at each of the 12 community colleges, worth over $2,900 per year for up to three years to eligible matriculated scholars who will attend one of Connecticutís community colleges. In 2008, Goodwin College was the first private institution to award two scholarships.

Dedicated Corporate, Education, and Government Sponsors

The GCYD Bright Lights Scholarship program is made possible by the generous support of many benefactors including The Hartford, Pfizer, Newmanís Own, Northeast Utilities, McDonalds, CIB/Oak Hill, The Board of Education and Services for the Blind, Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, The Department of Education, and Goodwin College.