Waco Foundation launched Duncan Scholars, formerly the MAC Program, last year to carry out the legacy of one local philanthropist dedicated to higher education. Malcolm Duncan Sr. gave nearly $9 million to ensure college remains accessible, affordable and attainable for McLennan County students. Duncan Scholars students receive full-tuition assistance, individual career advising and success coaching throughout their college careers.

The program recently graduated its first cohort of 32 students from Waco High and University High Schools. To prepare these students for their first year of college and keep them engaged to prevent summer melt (students who fail to attend college after summer break), Duncan Scholars hosted a summer retreat for participants. The goal was to build rapport among cohort members, increase awareness of community resources, and network with leaders. The day was full of informative sessions hosted by Duncan Scholars and Waco Foundation staff and partners at Baylor University, Start-Up Waco, Communities in Schools, and other local organizations.

The second cohort of Duncan Scholars students who will graduate high school in 2024 were recently selected. Currently, 39 students from University High School and 37 from Waco High School are participating. This number will fluctuate as high school students are still making their plans for postsecondary education, but Duncan Scholars will be there every step of the way to assist in guiding them towards their goals.

Although Waco Foundation has transitioned to Duncan Scholars programming, it is important to note that Duncan Scholars and Waco Foundation staff continue to serve MAC grant and scholarship recipients. All students who were selected for the MAC grant as of May 2022 are eligible for FAFSA assistance and scholarship funding. In fact, the MAC program selected a new group of MAC scholarship recipients this summer awarding 16 students $5,000 Scholarships and three full-tuition scholarships to Baylor University.

To learn more about Duncan Scholars please contact the program Director, Marlayna Massey at mmassey@wacofoundation.org. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Natalie Kelinske at nkelinske@wacofoundation.org.