“I began my association with LINK Unlimited many years ago and am proud and humbled to take on this new role for an organization that is doing so much good work on this critical issue”
LINK Unlimited is the only Chicago-area scholarship organization to incorporate a one-on-one mentoring program. Over the four-year commitment, each mentor contributes time, wisdom, and guidance to one student, as well as financial support to greatly offset the student’s high school tuition and supplement LINK Unlimited programs. Programs include leadership development, community service, summer school, and extensive college preparation and counseling. As a result, LINK Unlimited graduates have achieved a 100% acceptance and matriculation into 4-year colleges the past 12 years. LINK Unlimited scholars receive substantial financial aid packages to the colleges of their choice, with a third typically being offered full-tuition scholarships each year.
Mr. Gaffigan has been a member of LINK’s board since 2007 and has been involved with LINK for over 20 years.
Mr. Gaffigan started TCF Capital Funding, a division of TCF National Bank in March of this year. Prior to TCF, Gaffigan started MFC Capital Funding in 2005 and prior to that he started the Structured Finance Group in Chicago for Fifth Third Bank. He is also the former Chairman and an Emeritus Trustee of La Lumiere School (La Porte, IN). He is also a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization, the Commercial Finance Association and the Association for Corporate Growth.
“I began my association with LINK Unlimited many years ago and am proud and humbled to take on this new role for an organization that is doing so much good work on this critical issue,” Mr. Gaffigan said. “These kids are motivated and deserve to get a chance to show what they can do. They deserve a chance to go to the most academically challenging high school they can so they can be best prepared to succeed in college. LINK Unlimited gives them that chance.”
Mr. Gaffigan replaces Philip F. Suse, who served as Board Chair from 2010-2012. Suse, Partner at Baker & McKenzie, will remain on the board.
More than half the LINK Unlimited students come from homes with annual incomes of less than $40,000. Approximately 70% of the scholars are from single parent homes and the majority are the first generation in the family to attend college. Each incoming student is matched with a mentor from the larger community for his or her four years of high school. Mentors who include experienced bankers, lawyers, engineers, doctors and the like agree to financially support the student’s private school tuition and are expected to be a role model and friend to the student. They interact with their student scholar at least twice a month to track his or her progress and to provide learning insights and opportunities that support the student’s education.
In its 45 years history, LINK has provided over 1,700 African American youth with scholarship and mentor support. The program has five key goals: provide a high quality education to disadvantaged students, ready the students for college, offer opportunities for leadership development, ensure personal development and encourage racial harmony. www.linkunlimited.org.