To provide college scholarships and supporting services to Chicago-area high school seniors based on character, academic merit and financial need.




Ernest ‘Ernie’ Wentcher was a successful businessman who sought to leave a lasting impact through education. He began the Foundation in 1997, awarding the first scholarship in 2001. In September 2013, Ernest Wentcher passed away at the age of ninety-nine. Because of his vision and generosity, the Foundation will continue on in perpetuity. To learn more about the Wentcher Foundation and Ernie Wentcher, visit the About page.




The Wentcher Foundation has three distinct scholarship programs, each offering multi-year support with the goal of undergraduate degree completion within four years. In fall 2021, the Foundation will award,

  • 90 CPS Wentcher Scholars who receive up to $10,000 in support each year for four years.
  • 11 Oakton Wentcher Scholars who receive up to $3,500 to attend Oakton Community College and
  • 6 Oakton Wentcher Transfer Scholars who receive up to $10,000 to complete their undergraduate degree.

This new scholar class joins over 250 returning scholars and over 500 Wentcher Alumni. 

Please refer to your Scholarship Agreement for your full award terms and details and our FAQs below. 




Beyond the financial assistance of your scholarship award, our Programs team has developed a variety of support services to help you thrive during college.

These services include, 

  • Academic Support – Stipends for Chegg Study are available (above and beyond your scholarship award) by request each semester to provide study support for STEM courses.
  • Career Development – Wentcher’s Internship Initiative provides timely listings to professional work experience according to Scholars’ career pathways. Wentcher alumni lead professional development workshops on key topics for future success. 
  • Community-Building – We host peer-to-peer and alumni-led workshops and game nights. We promote on-campus and virtual networking opportunities among our Scholars to connect and engage our Wentcher Scholar community. 
  • Individual Check-Ins – Programs staff Cassie Brooks and Theresa Pfister meet with students by Zoom and phone to provide support and navigation on college issues and refer you to your campus resources.
  • Mental Health and Wellness – Perspectives, our Student Assistance Program, provides at-the-moment support from licensed clinicians 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This service is free and accessible through an app and telephone line.

While you will receive updates on these services through our Scholar Email Newsletters, you can also contact Cassie Brooks (cassie@wentcherfoundation.org) or Theresa Pfister (theresa@wentcherfoundation.org) for more information on any program support listed above. 




You are now part of a large Wentcher family and we are expanding our services and scholar network each year. Stay connected by keeping your preferred email and phone number up to date. Connect with the Wentcher Foundation across LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter for timely updates and to be part of a positive community dedicated to your success. 

Wentcher Scholarship FAQs

No, the Wentcher Foundation can only send funds to your institution.

The Wentcher Foundation works with your Financial Aid Office to confirm both the maximum amount and due date of your scholarship. Checks typically go out in mid-July but can go earlier or later depending on your school. We ask that the schools allocate your scholarship by term. Checks are mailed in plenty of time to satisfy the school’s due date. Do not be surprised if the Wentcher scholarship doesn’t appear on your latest Financial Aid Award letter until late summer.


For Oakton Wentcher scholars – the Wentcher Foundation receives an invoice from OCC each semester after the drop date for classes has passed. It notes the amount (up to $1,750 per semester) that we can pay for each student. We then pay the invoice in full.

The Wentcher Foundation determines your award (up to $10,000 per year) using the Financial Aid Award letter you provide us. We work with your Financial Aid Office to determine the maximum amount we can send before displacement. Our scholarship may be used for tuition, room and board, books and required fees that are part of your Cost of Attendance (COA). If required, health and dental insurance may be covered as well if added to your COA.


For Oakton scholars, the Wentcher Foundation will pay up to $3,500 per year.

Displacement results when your school replaces one type of scholarship, grant or gift aid with another. For example, your school offers you a $15,000 institutional scholarship and expects you/your family to pay $3,000 (EFC). They tell us we can send $7,000 before displacement. If we sent the full $10,000 scholarship, they would reduce your institutional scholarship to $12,000 and you would still need to pay the $3,000 (EFC). Wentcher dollars can replace loans, EFC and work study, if allowed. To ensure Wentcher dollars help Wentcher Scholars, the Wentcher Foundation has a policy specifically prohibiting displacement.

Wentcher scholarships cover a full school year and the summer following that school year. If your school tells us the maximum we can send for the regular school year is less than $10,000, you may use the remainder of your scholarship for a computer (once in four years up to $2,000), any additional expenses related to study abroad, and summer classes. The study abroad and summer classes must be for credit and count toward your graduation requirements. Once study abroad programs resume in the future, please contact us as soon as you know your plans to avoid any surprises. Please note leftover funds cannot roll over to the next year.


For Oakton scholars – it is very rare that you won’t use your $1,750 per semester scholarship but in the event that you use less than $3,500 for the school year you can apply any remaining scholarship to summer classes (for credit).

No, you do not have to reapply each year for your scholarship. However, you do need to send the Wentcher Foundation official transcripts after each completed term (semester or quarter). They can be emailed to transcripts@wentcherfoundation.org or mailed to our office (1000 Skokie Blvd Suite 250 Wilmette, IL 60091). In mid- to late June each year you will receive renewal paperwork we need in order to verify with your Financial Aid Office the scholarship amount for the coming year.

Wentcher Scholars must enroll as a full-time college student and maintain full-time student status to retain eligibility. Wentcher Scholars must maintain a B-level cumulative average (i.e., a 3.0 cumulative GPA at most universities). The Wentcher Foundation requires official transcripts from your university after each term concludes. Transcripts are usually provided by your Registrar’s Office and can be emailed to transcripts@wentcherfoundation.org or mailed to our office (1000 Skokie Blvd Suite 250 Wilmette, IL 60091). Please wait until final grades are posted before sending a transcript.

Additional requirements can be found in your ‘Scholarship Agreement.’

Wentcher Foundation staff are here to help. Do not be afraid to contact us if your grades are slipping or you are facing another kind of difficulty on campus. ​We are not your counselors or academic advisors, but we can often direct you to an on-campus resource for help. ​Asking for help early is a sign of strength and good sense, not weakness. Start by reaching out to a member of the Programs Team, Cassie Brooks (cassie@wentcherfoundation.org) or Theresa Pfister (theresa@wentcherfoundation.org)

Wentcher funding is not dependent upon your major; your scholarship is not in jeopardy if you change your major.​ Wentcher scholarships may be used at any accredited, not-for profit,  Title IV-eligible school in the US, but your financial aid eligibility will change based on the school you select. Contact us ASAP if you are considering attending a new school. The CPS Wentcher scholarship can only be renewed three times, for a total of four years of  undergraduate support.

For financial questions, please contact Linda Hoffmann, Finance Manager at



For all other questions please contact Cassie Brooks, Director of Programs at 

cassie@wentcherfoundation.org or Theresa Pfister, Programs Manager at theresa@wentcherfoundation.org


Brian Fitzpatrick
Executive Director

Cassie Brooks
Director of Programs
cassie@ wentcherfoundation.org

Theresa Pfister
Program Manager

Linda Hoffmann
Finance Manager

Nia Harris
Program Associate