Red Wagon Fund



“Until we have equality in education, we won’t have an equal society.” — Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor 

Issam and Dr. Rima Abbas, who along with their three children, were tragically killed by a drunk driver in 2019, believed deeply in the power of higher education and its ability to help shape a brighter and more equitable future for all. They felt strongly that access to higher education ought to be a right, rather than a privilege.

In keeping with these core beliefs, The Abbas Family Red Wagon Fund, housed at the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP), launched a new initiative in summer 2020, The Issam and Dr. Rima Abbas Endowed Scholarship for exceptionally driven and talented senior high school students at Fordson High School, who wish to make a difference in the world. This scholarship program aims to further the commitment that Issam and Dr. Rima — both Fordson alumns — had to higher education.

Thanks to a generous gift from an anonymous donor that was matched by Dr. Rima’s sister, Rana Abbas Taylor and her husband Tom Taylor, an initial $100,000 has been secured. With your help, we hope to grow The Issam and Dr. Rima Abbas Endowed Scholarship to $200,000 so that we can positively impact even more students. Click here to read more about the Abbas family.

We hope you will consider supporting this important initiative and upholding the Abbas legacy by making a donation in honor of Issam and Dr. Rima Abbas.

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Read more about our Issam and Dr. Rima Abbas Endowed Scholarship Recipients by clicking the links below.

2022 2021

Scholarship Details

The Issam and Dr. Rima Abbas Endowed Scholarship is awarded to exceptionally driven and talented senior high school students at Fordson High School. The intent of this scholarship is to support motivated Fordson High School students who wish to make a difference in the world and who demonstrate a commitment to higher education. It is anticipated that each student will be awarded $1,000-$2,500. The fund will make all grant distributions directly to the student’s affiliated college or university once they are enrolled. All colleges and universities must be accredited.

View full application instructions here

Applications are now open. You must download and review the application instructions before submitting. Applications due at 11:59pm on Monday, March 11, 2024.

Questions? Please contact Mikala Cox at

The Issam and Rima Abbas Endowed Scholarship Application Form

  • Scholarship Eligibility

  • Check off each requirement that you meet.
  • Personal Information

  • Financial hardship occurs when a person or family struggles to make payments toward debt or bills, or have expendable funds for things like college tuition. Keep in mind, your responses are always kept confidential. Your statement must be 1-2 sentences demonstrating your financial hardship, such as, “My parents are often making ends meet due to providing for myself, my siblings, as well as my grandmother who lives in the basement."
  • Education

  • Note: If you have not yet made your college choice, you can either put "undecided" or list the schools that you are considering.
  • Note: If you are undecided or have an intended major, feel free to enter "Undecided" or "Intended Major: ____".
  • Attachments

    Please upload the following documents in PDF format: A copy of your (official or unofficial) high school transcript, upload a short essay, and upload your letter of recommendation
  • Max. file size: 128 MB.
    Upload high school transcript (unofficial OK): Name the file "LastName_FirstName_Transcript." If applicant prefers to submit transcripts directly, see mailing instructions below.
  • Submit an essay of 300-400 words, double-spaced pages, size 12 font, with 1-inch margins answering the questions outlined in the scholarship instructions. Name the file "LastName_FirstName_Essay." Example: Smith_John_Essay
    Accepted file types: pdf, Max. file size: 128 MB.
  • Name the files "LastName_FirstName_Rec1". If a recommender prefers to submit a letter directly to the scholarship committee without you reading it, instruct them to upload the letter at this link:
    Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: pdf, Max. file size: 128 MB.
    • Confirmation