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Founded with members of the Cray family, the Andrew Cray Memorial Scholarship is Western Wisconsin’s only scholarship program designated for LGBTQ youth. We focus on supporting LGBTQ youth who do not have family support. Approximately 40 percent of homeless teens are LGBTQ (9% of whom identified as bisexual). Our scholarship fund has supported numerous high school seniors in achieving their post-secondary goals.
On average, 30% of youth utilizing transitional living programs are also LGBTQ. Considering that LGBTQ youth represent approximately 7% of the total youth population, these numbers are disproportionately high. What is particularly troubling is how family rejection often plays a role in this disproportionate number of homeless LGBTQ youth. We are dedicated to a bright future for all LGBTQ youth, and want to ensure that they have the resources necessary to live their dreams – including post-secondary education.
Our scholarship fund is named in honor of Andrew Cray, a Chippewa Valley native who passed away from complications of cancer in 2014. After transitioning while attending college at Northwestern University, Andrew found his calling after participating in fellowships for LGBT organizations in D.C. while pursuing his law degree. Among his many accomplishments, Andrew helped to launch Out2Enroll, a project aimed at encouraging LGBT people to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. From 2012-2014, he worked for the Center for American Progress on its LGBT state insurance exchange projects, fighting to ensure that the new law instituted data collection for the LGBT community as well as non-discrimination protections in health care based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
In many ways, Andrew was an unsung hero. The White House honored Andrew posthumously as a “champion of change” for his work to connect LGBT Americans with comprehensive and affordable health insurance. The legacy of Andrew’s live-saving work continues, as thousands of people now have access to crucial health care and are able to live their lives to the fullest.