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An improbable chance changes a life

Dr. Echewa’s improbable chance to attend college transformed her life and countless others during her 30-year teaching career in Philadelphia public schools.




Dr. Willie W. Echewa is born

Dr. Willie W. Echewa grew up in rural West Virginia. Despite countless challenges, Dr. Echewa was the first in her family to graduate from high school.

Dr. Echewa attends college

After seizing an unanticipated opportunity to attend college, Dr. Echewa runs with it to become a teacher.

She goes on to complete two Master’s Degrees from Columbia University, marries and raises three children, and earns a Doctorate in Education from Temple University.

For over 30 years, Dr. Echewa demonstrated unfailing empathy and commitment to helping inner-city students gain life-changing opportunities through education and vocational training.

The Echewa fund is created

Inspiring students to see beyond their neighborhoods

Olenga Echewa Anabui established the Dr. Willie W. Echewa Opportunities Scholarship Fund at The Philadelphia Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, to honor Dr. Echewa’s 30-year teaching career in Philadelphia public schools and dedication to uplifting her community.

Offering the tools they need to achieve their dream

Because scholarships alone do not create college graduates, awards are exclusively given to Philadelphia Futures participants to ensure that awardees will have the social, academic and personal enrichment needed to enter college and complete their degrees.

Philadelphia Futures has helped thousands of urban high school students socially and academically and equipped the most promising among them with the tools they need to achieve their dream of obtaining a college degree.

See past recipients