One America Community Efforts
Little Bar

Program: H.D. Woodson HOOP DREAMS Scholarship Fund, Washington, DC
Contact(s): Susie Kay, Founder and Director: (202) 414-0904
Purpose: To raise college scholarship money for students and build relationships between students and professionals that cross racial and financial barriers

Background Program Operations Outcomes


Founded in 1996 by local high school teacher Susie Kay, HOOP DREAMS is a citywide, volunteer, community-based nonprofit organization that works to bring together the professional community and public high school students in Washington, DC. HOOP DREAMS raises scholarships for outstanding college-bound seniors in need of financial assistance. The high school in which Kay works, H.D. Woodson High School, is an inner-city school. HOOP DREAMS strives to connect the African American student population at Woodson and the largely white professional community in the city.

Program Operations

While fundraising efforts occur throughout the year, HOOP DREAMS itself is a one day 3-on-3 basketball tournament held in June, which involves students and professionals. The tournament has also sponsored other activities: In 1998, the program organized semiformal parties to raise funds for college scholarships. All of the proceeds go directly to college scholarships for outstanding, academically selected, college-bound seniors at H.D. Woodson High School. Scholarships are awarded on a competitive academic basis to students who demonstrate serious commitment to pursuing a college education. Recipients must also demonstrate strong leadership skills, a positive attitude and determination. Applicants submit an essay describing their goals, along with academic materials, that are then assessed by a selection committee of school faculty and staff. Scholarship funds are either issued directly to educational institutions or are designated solely for college-related expenses.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

Since 1996 HOOP DREAMS has raised nearly $120,000 and has awarded 20 scholarships. The fund has also established numerous mentorships, and has grown 3,000% since its inception in 1996. HOOP DREAMS has been featured in publications such as the Washington Post. In 1997, HOOP DREAMS attracted 64 teams, raised $18,000. Each HOOP DREAMS semi-formal was attended by over 500 people, where students signed people up to be mentors as well as participate in the 1998 HOOP DREAMS tournament, and professionals provided internships for students participating in the program.

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