From Ivy Tech to Ivy League

Raised: $26,773.00
Goal: $30,000.00

Created by

Casey Bridgeford

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Recently, I was accepted into the University of Pennsylvania. I am raising money to to support my family for one year as I return to full time studies at one of our nation's most prestig... more


Updated posted by Casey Bridgeford 2 months ago

Last year, I left my safety zone! I left home, quit my job, gave up Facebook, left friends and my old neighborhood. I had no idea what lied ahead. I had no idea that I would end up moving 3 times in 6 months, become the mentee of a top exec at the largest software company in the world, experience the pressure that led 2 classmates to commit suicide this year, rock my first college house show, drop way below a 4.0 gpa, visit the Council on Foreign Relations, meet an US Ambassador for a briefing at United Nations, and deliver my first TED talk [video included].

Ups…Downs…And all around…All the highs and lows gave my psyche whiplash from the sharp turns of this ride. However, I am on this ride to get the prize! I need that degree! This new year has given me a new outlook. I don’t have it all figured out, but I do have one thing figured out… This will be the making of me!

Thanks for your continued support.


Resilience: Success's Missing Ingredient


Updated posted by Casey Bridgeford 4 months ago

Dear friends and family!

This journey to Penn has been one full of extreme highs and lows. The highs include building relationships with leaders who make decisions that affect millions of people, an opportunity to speak at my first TED conference, access to elite career mentors, and world-class instruction.

However, the lows have also been noteworthy. They include our need to move the third time since leaving Indianapolis, living off of loans, and the stress involved with an ever-changing lifestyle.

The truth is, there will always be surprises when embarking on the unknown. My family had no idea that the benefits or cost of this move would be so great. However, we are committed to completing this journey!

As I mentioned, we will be picking up and moving again for the 3rd time since this June. [Email me for details] Though we would rather not move during the winter and hate creating instability for our children, it is imperative that we find safe and habitable housing for our family.

What are we doing:
I am applying for several scholarships/fellowships to cover the expenses of my studies. Any additional funding I am able to secure will reduce the amount of loans that go to tuition, and eventually begin to reduce our need to use loans for living expenses. While attending school full-time, I have maintained a 20 hour/wk schedule with Wharton Social Impact Initiative. [currently, I am taking a break in order to move]

What do we still need:
Supporters can help us continue this journey by considering a one-time or monthly contribution. This will provide the up front capitol needed for the move. A contribution can also help us to begin the next semester knowing that even if we must max out our loans, we will have all the basic academic and living expenses covered.

The new overall financial goal has been increased to reflect our aspiration to complete this journey in reasonable financial standing (without 70-100k in loans).

Please consider helping us reach this goal!


Casey Bridgeford


Updated posted by Casey Bridgeford 5 months ago

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to do something that I never thought I'd be able to do; I gave my 1st TED Talk. Even though most people have this as an item on their "bucket list", only a few people get the opportunity to make it a reality.

What did I talk about?

I spoke about this amazing journey that you have joined me on. My journey has taken me from the stage to the classroom in the most unlikely fashion. My speech reflected on the ups and downs of this journey: how smarts, talent, and drive allowed me to see many high points, but weren't enough to carry me through the low points. I will share video from this event as soon as it is made available.

Where am I at in my journey?

Currently, I am working at my studies as well as balancing life as a father, husband, full time student, and Wharton Social Impact Fellow. I am applying to both summer internships and summer courses. It is my hope to do some combination of work and study this summer.

Where can you help?

Experiencing great moments while still needing help is nothing new to me. However, it is still a challenge show both success and need. The fight to stay in school is more of a financial fight than anything. If you are committed to continuing this journey with me, please consider helping me reach my goal before the end of the year. A contribution today, will help my family continue to make the most of this incredible opportunity!

Thanks again for your support!



1 - 3 of 26 Updates
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Created by Casey Bridgeford on March 28, 2013

Recently, I was accepted into the University of Pennsylvania. I am raising money to to support my family for one year as I return to full time studies at one of our nation's most prestigious educational institutions. My journey to attend an Ivy League instiution took a very unconventional path.

My Story
In high school I barely was a B student. I became so disenchanted with the educational environment that I wondered if I had the motivation to finish high school.

After graduating, I pursued music with school completely in my rear view mirror. Nothing has impacted my adult life more than my decision to pursue my hip hop dreams instead of college. I tell all about this in a speech I delivered to State Farm's Student Success Summit . Ten years after making this decision I was struggling to take care of my family of 6 and wishing I had a degree. Basic needs: rent, food, gas, and diapers, etc., meant that school was not an option unless it was bringing money into the home. Ivy Tech Community College and the Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholarship allowed me to return to school and bring money into my home at the same time.

Ivy Tech To Acceptance into an Ivy League College?

My first and only goal during the first semester of school at Ivy Tech was to do well enough not to flunk out. That was it. However, after earning a 4.0 for 3 semesters in a row, I began to see that I had much more to accomplish in academia... What if I could keep earning these kind of grades? Are there honor societies for community college students? What schools scout high performing community college students?

What I quickly learned was that my success in the classroom was about to open some very interesting doors. Because of my success, I began to be introduced to executive level leadership at my school, received an invitation from the largest academic honor society in the world, and received all types of solicitations from schools. Some of the messages had direct scholarship offers of up to $40,000. I received mail from Harvard, Yale, the University of Chicago and many, many more. Overall, I received more than 400 invitations to apply from colleges and universities by mail, email, and sometimes telephone.

Why am I raising funds?

I need help! I am moving my wife and four kids across the country to a pursue an Ivy League Education. Along with the sacrifices that we have made as a family, we need to make a successful transition into life in Philly.

Help me raise $30,000 to support my family for one year as I return to full time studies.

If you would like to be apart of this great endeavor, here are 3 ways to help:

1. Give a gift: Donate HERE Today
2. Share the link with your social network on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
3. Host a party: (This is a great way to support if you have a strong network of possible supporters. You invite the people. I share my story. I make the appeal. We reach the goal!)

If you can think of another way to help me reach my goal, I am very interested in hearing your ideas.

Thank you again for helping me pursue this excellent opportunity at University of Pennsylvania.


Casey Bridgeford
Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholar

----------------- Bio
Casey Bridgeford is an award-winning American hip hop artist and community builder. Artistically known as "iLL Holiday"; his music drives listeners to live positive lifestyles. He also writes for a blog ( where he shares new music, fashion, and culture from around the globe.
Casey's community work has allowed him to develop his city's first and only city-wide peace tour and be honored by Citizen's Energy Group as one of its 125 Leaders. He currently works to develop young professionals who are passionate about impacting their community.
Learn more about Casey "iLL Holiday" Bridgeford at the following links:

ILL Holiday Dot Com:
Public Allies Blog:

Have Questions? Contact the organizer of this campaign now:


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I'm even more inspired to help to purpose the future of generations to come! Thank you!

posted by Andrea Carter-Coffer 10 months ago

Shouts out to @JulianGrace8 for sharing my story on the evening news!

posted by Ill Holiday 10 months ago

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Recent Donations (60)

$26,773 raised by 60 people in 13 months.



1 month ago (Offline Donation)




2 months ago (Offline Donation)



Clint Whitson

2 months ago


Casey - I admire your courage and determination. Keep going!




3 months ago (Offline Donation)


My God bless you & your family with happiness & PEACE this holiday season. Keep spreading joy.



Dominic and Kia

4 months ago


We support you all and will continue to lift you up in prayer! Keep pressing!




5 months ago (Offline Donation)


I am praying for you and your family!




5 months ago



Charlie Williams

5 months ago




6 months ago (Offline Donation)


I'm so proud of you!



Franca and Bruce Brownstein

7 months ago


1-10 of 60 donations


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