He won $1.3 million in scholarships and now he has a mobile and web app that helps other students find scholarships for college. His name is Christopher Gray and he is the Founder of Scholly. To date, Scholly has nearly 2 million users and has helped students find $100 million in scholarships to help pay for higher education. Christopher Gray is a social entrepreneur who is doing a lot of good for a great many people.
Scholly was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, where Gray landed a deal with Daymond John and Lori Greiner. Gray has been featured in the New York Times, O Magazine, Huffington Post, Forbes, CNN, The Wall Street Journal and several other publications. He made the Forbes 30 Under 30 List for Social Entrepreneurship. He is one of Oprah’s Inaugural Super Soul 100 honorees and made the list of her favorite people, also. Gray was awarded the 2016 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award. Gray has achieved a great deal but his beginnings were not so grand.
At the time he was awarded $1.3 million in scholarships, Gray was actually homeless. A Birmingham native, Gray wanted to go to school but the money just wasn’t there. For seven months he searched for scholarships, using the free computers at the library and even writing essays from his cell phone. His hard work paid off, winning awards from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, among others. Gray went on to study finance and entrepreneurship at Drexel University in Philadelphia. With his scholarship awards he was able to cover his living expenses for all four years.
His personal journey made him an expert on the financial aid and scholarship landscape. It was a jumbled, confusing and convoluted world that he wanted to simplify for other students that would come behind him. That’s where the inspiration for Scholly was birthed from and today it is doing for students exactly what Gray intended it to. Scholly serves as yet another example of the kind of entrepreneurship that is sorely needed today — one that builds communities as it succeeds. Gray is a Black man who came from poverty, has succeeded and is helping many others do the same. Gray is Black excellence.