The Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust (B.E.S.T.) was formed on July 1, 1987 as a merger between The Baltimore Independent School Scholarship Fund (BISSF) and The Baltimore Project for Black Students. BISSF was established in 1976 by ten independent schools to provide a consortium to approach Baltimore corporations for funding of financial aid for students with financial need at their schools. Their commitment was “to increase educational opportunities for motivated but economically disadvantaged high school students, with a special priority to providing assistance to minority students.” Scholarships were provided from BISSF to the member schools, based on the schools’ recommendations.
The Baltimore Project for Black Students formed in 1982 with the vision of Heads of School Barbara L. Chase (The Bryn Mawr School), W. Byron Forbush (Friends School of Baltimore), Redmond C.S. Finney (Gilman School), and Gordon K. Lenci (Roland Park Country School), who wanted to increase the number of African American students at their institutions. These four schools were partners of BISSF as well. Given the similarity and scope of both organizations, Bill Mules, Head of McDonogh School, proposed a merger between the two efforts.
The Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust came into existence to encourage, support and increase educational opportunities for ambitious, lower-income African American students from the Baltimore area. Our mission has made a tremendous difference in K-12 educational opportunity and success for African American children, the diversity of our eighteen independent member schools, and the expansion of talented leadership in the Baltimore community.