Cubs Scholars in spotlight this Thanksgiving

November 19th, 2022

CHICAGO -- During his time with the Cubs, Kyle Hendricks has been involved in a series of events related to the Cubs Scholars program. That is fitting, given that fans have been calling the crafty pitcher The Professor for years.

Beyond baseball, Hendricks gives the youth involved in that Cubs Charities program another type of example of a possible path: college. Hendricks is a product of Dartmouth, and plenty of the kids he has met through Cubs Scholars are embarking on their own collegiate story.

"Kyle has been part of that program for many years," said Jennifer Dedes Nowak, assistant director of community affairs and Cubs Charities. "He's been at a majority of the breakfasts, welcoming the students. He's always kind of been there at our events and greeting the kids at games."

The Cubs Scholars program was launched by Cubs Charities in 2013 -- one year before Hendricks broke into the Majors with the North Siders -- with the goal of supporting the academic achievement of Chicago students, addressing a noticeable barrier to post-secondary education.

Since the program's creation, Cubs Scholars has supported 62 Chicago students and committed $1.24 million in scholarships. To date, the success rate for obtaining an undergraduate degree has been 96 percent. The program offers team-sponsored mentorship to select students, along with a $20,000 scholarship upon enrollment to a four-year college or university.

That program helped the Cubs become a finalist for the Selig Award for Philanthropic Excellence, along with the D-backs, Reds, White Sox and Yankees. Voting concluded earlier this week and the recipient of the award will be announced during the Winter Meetings in December.

"It's really exciting for Cubs Charities and humbling," Dedes Nowak said. "We're really proud of the programs that we've worked to develop with our youth. We've built some really strong communities within our programs and we're so proud of the achievements of our youth that participate.

"And we just see a lot of potential with the recognition from this award for how we can grow our programming and offer more opportunities."

The success of the Cubs Scholars program led to Cubs Charities introducing more programs to assist Chicago students. Two examples include the RBI Scholars and CASE (Careers As Sports Executives) initiatives.

Being in the running for the Selig Award was a highlight for the Cubs as they entered Thanksgiving week, but Cubs Charities had plenty more on its calendar as the holiday season gets underway:

• On Nov. 16, Cubs Charities partnered with National Runaway Safeline in purchasing and delivering more than 600 Thanksgiving meals from Smoke Daddy restaurant in Wrigleyville. The meals were sent to local shelters across the greater Chicagoland area to help support National Runaway Prevention Month.

• On Nov. 17, Cubs associates served lunch to senior citizens in Lakeview in partnership with the 19th District Chicago Police Department.

• The Cubs will be accepting winter gear donations from Nov. 18-Dec. 11 from fans attending Winterland at Gallagher Way. Hats, scarves and gloves collected at the Cubs Team Store at Gallagher Way will be donated to Chicago Cares, and those who donate will receive 20 percent off their purchase in the store.

• In early December, Cubs associates will pack backpacks with food for kids at Pederson-McCormick Boys & Girls Club, along with Blessings in a Backpack. They will also help bake, package and ship holiday treats at Misericordia's Hearts and Flour Bakery.

• The Cubs, Cubs Charities and Project H.O.O.D. will partner to provide new toys for more than 300 children from the Woodlawn and Englewood neighborhoods next month. The donated toys will be distributed at an event on Dec. 18.

For more on Cubs Charities, visit