An Organization of Empowerment

Family Scholar House continues to change the lives of members of our community through education

By Remy Sisk

Dedicated to ending the cycle of poverty and transforming our city, Family Scholar House is one of Louisville’s most important and impactful nonprofits. The organization empowers families and youth to succeed in education and achieve life-long self-sufficiency. Having recently opened its fifth Louisville campus, it is one of the area’s only institutions that facilitates opportunities for single parents and foster alumni to achieve the ultimate goal of confident self-sufficiency. This is achieved by attaining an education that will undoubtedly expand and enrich their lives. The nonprofit serves families and young adults who are grappling with homelessness or domestic violence situations so that they may become the best version of themselves for their own sake as well as their children’s.

Family Scholar House began in 1995 as Project Women, an organization that strived to help further the socio-economic positions of women and children in crisis. Committed to assisting these individuals in achieving a proper education, Project Women brought Cathe Dykstra on board in 2005. 

UofL President and Celebration of Education Gala keynote speaker Dr. Neeli Bendapudi.

Dykstra broadened its reach and saw the organization undergo a name change to Family Scholar House in 2008. For the last 10 years, the organization has been meeting the needs of single parents and struggling families while setting them off on a journey of lifetime success.

“Within 90 days of graduating and exiting our program, 73 percent of our families are off all government assistance,” says Family Scholar House Director of Strategic Initiatives Kate Brackett. “These families are taxpayers, homeowners and engaged members of our society. Due to the community believing in them and seeing their true potential, they are able to live out their dreams and are very quick to want to pay that forward to another individual or family in need. Our families and young adults help make this community a more compassionate community because they understand the impact of education and assisting those that need a hand up.”

Over the course of its history, Family Scholar House has seen 431 college degrees earned by its scholars and 43 homes purchased. Last year, Family Scholar House served 3,497 families with 4,718 children and 431 foster alumni with its 12-person full-time staff and more than 1,900 volunteers.  They ensure each participant receives academic advising, family advocacy, parenting and life skills workshops and connections to local resources. To further its commitment to these families, Family Scholar House will be holding the Celebration of Education Gala on Sept. 21 at the Omni Louisville Hotel.

“The Celebration of Education Gala presented by The Marian Group & LDG Development is just that, a celebration,” affirms Brackett. The evening will kick off with a cocktail reception sponsored by Brown-Forman as well as a sumptuous silent auction. Next, the main program, with LouAnn Atlas as honorary chair, will feature University of Louisville President Dr. Neeli Bendapudi as keynote speaker. Following the dinner and program, guests will be able to hit the dance floor as Endless Summer Band takes the stage to provide entertainment until midnight.

“All proceeds from this event directly support our mission,” Brackett emphasizes of the Celebration of Education Gala. “The funds will allow us to deliver our comprehensive list of services to families and young adults in our community. Family Scholar House receives no federal funding for our operation budget, so (donor) support is vital in ensuring we continue to serve this community.”

As it continues to move forward like never before, Family Scholar House is always looking for members of the community to get involved. Brackett maintains that anyone interested in volunteering or simply getting more information about this incredibly worthy organization may reach out by calling 502.548.8090 or emailing VT

Family Scholar House Celebration of Education Gala

Omni Hotel

6 p.m. Sept. 21

Stories That Define Us

In 2017, “Family Scholar House: Stories That Define Us” by Pam Platt was published and shared with supporters of the nonprofit. The following is an excerpt that tells the story of just one of the many graduates who overcame odds to achieve their dreams:

“Jaydee had always been independent, but she knew she needed to go to school and she needed to work, and she needed help to do that. She found Family Scholar House, and the second she walked into orientation, she knew it was where she was supposed to be. Her son was two years old when they moved in.

‘It’s never too late to be what you might have been.’

Jaydeen knew from the beginning of her two-and-a-half years living at FSH that she wanted to do social work.

‘I cannot fail,’ she told herself.

She was in a place designed to help her succeed, where she had an opportunity to pursue her goals and dreams without worrying so much about fitting together the puzzle pieces of finances and schooling for her son, a place where she didn’t have to choose waitress work over what she was meant to do.”