Tolton Catholic Scholars
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Tolton Catholic Scholars

An upward mobility program for underserved Catholic parishioners.

Introducing Tolton Catholic Scholars

Are you a Catholic who desires a GED, college education, trade school or other training, but need help in closing the financial gap?

The Tolton Catholic Scholars program exists to help you attain your educational dreams, and grow in your faith through its mission of creating upward mobility through higher education for underserved Catholic parishioners.

We invite you to learn more.

(Interested in supporting the Tolton Catholic Scholars with a financial gift? Give online now.)


Who was Augustus Tolton?

Augustus Tolton portrait

John Augustus Tolton was born on April 1, 1854, in Missouri.  He was born into and grew up in slavery.  His father died, and his mother fled with her children during the Civil War.  With the help of Union soldiers and police, they crossed the Mississippi River and arrived in Quincy, IL. 

It was there that Augustus met Father Peter McGirr, who helped Augustus receive an education, and ultimately helped him enter the seminary in Rome.  Father Augustus was ordained in 1886 in Rome, and is the first Catholic priest in the United States publicly to be known as Black. 

He ministered on the south side of Chicago until his death at age 43 in 1897.  Father Augustus’ path to sainthood was opened by the Church in 2010, and he was declared Venerable (the first stage of canonization) in 2019.

The Tolton Scholars program is inspired by Father Augustus Tolton who valiantly overcame insurmountable challenges – birth into slavery, his father's death, abject poverty, and a lack of access to education – to become the first African-American priest.

Learn more about Fr. Augustus Tolton.

Tolton Scholars overview

Tolton Scholars word picture: We want to help you overcome your challenges.Tolton Scholars are:

  • People who are active in one of these parish communities:

    • All Saints, Milwaukee

    • St. Martin de Porres, Milwaukee

    • St. Francis of Assisi, Milwaukee

    • St. Rose, Milwaukee

    • St. Michael, Milwaukee

    • Congregation of the Great Spirit, Milwaukee

    • Blessed Savior, Milwaukee

    • Applicants from other urban parishes will be considered on a case-by-case basis

  • Go to Mass weekly and on Holy Days, and receives the Sacraments

  • Want to give back to their parish community

  • Plan to remain in Milwaukee

  • Desire to grow in their faith

  • Are attending, or will attend a school, college, university or program in southeastern Wisconsin


If accepted into the program, Tolton Scholars are expected to:

  • grow spiritually, as demonstrated by engaging in opportunities for spiritual formation

  • volunteer their time in parish and outreach activities

  • commit to attending Community Formation Sessions for the Scholars, which are held during school breaks

  • work to excel in their academic studies.  There is no minimum GPA, but scholars are expected to complete the programs they start

  • strive to set goals for the future


Apply now!

Tolton Catholic Scholars - New Application

Tolton Catholic Scholars - Renewal Application

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The Archdiocese of Milwaukee

3501 South Lake Drive
St. Francis, WI 53235

Phone:  (414) 769-3300
Toll-Free: (800) 769-9373
Fax:  (414)  769-3408