Receiving a college scholarship can change someone’s world. It can present opportunities that were previously unavailable due to financial status. That is exactly what receiving the Foundations of East Chicago (FEC) scholarship has done for East Chicago native Derryon Smith.


Derryon had the dream of playing college football. However, he and his family could not afford to pay college tuition. But Derryon found another way to achieve his goals: through scholarships.


“There are people in our city willing to invest in you and help you get a degree,” said Derryon.


He was speaking of FEC, a nonprofit organization that has issued scholarships to East Chicago students since 1999.


Derryon used his FEC scholarship to attend Lakeland College and Central State University where he was not only able to work on obtaining a degree in Business Management but also play college football and experience being part of the HBCU community. These are life experiences that Derryon will be able to carry with him forever.


“The FEC scholarship made me feel that there were people who cared about me being successful,” said Derryon.


FEC distributes several different types of scholarships to East Chicago residents each year, many of which are renewable and transferrable with the stipulation that the recipients maintain a 2.5 grade point average.


Since Derryon received his degree, he has worked in management and supervisory roles at several large retailers. He credits his success to being able to obtain a college education.


“People are giving back,” he said of FEC. “Why not be part of something great?”


For more information on scholarship recipients like Derryon, visit



Derryon Smith