Dearborn, MI - Nearly 400 foster youth are eligible to receive college scholarships following the 11th annual Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund Benefit Dinner organized by the Michigan Education Trust (MET) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).
Thursday evening’s event at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn was attended by close to 220 guests who raised a record-setting $107,125 for scholarships through MET, the Michigan Department of Treasury’s 529 prepaid education program. So far this year, MET has raised $146,980 for the scholarshi
Both the fundraiser dinner and raffle benefit youth who have experienced foster care in Michigan. A partnership between MET and MDHHS makes Fostering Futures Scholarships possible.
“We have been working together for more than a decade to bring hope and resources to Michigan’s foster youth,” said State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks, who spoke at the event. “Tonight’s event is about breaking down barriers for these youth. It’s about turning compassion into action, hope into reality, and dreams into achievement. The money we raise goes directly to helping the students get to, and succeed in, college.”
Approximately 10,000 youth are in the Michigan foster care system run by MDHHS. Nationally, fewer than 10% of former foster youth enroll in college after high school and fewer than 3% earn a degree.
“Helping people connect with resources to promote opportunity and prosperity, and to reduce intergenerational poverty, is central to our department’s work,” said Demetrius Starling, senior deputy director for MDHHS’ Children’s Services Administration, who also spoke at the event. “Everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue the education and career path that is right for them and their goals. MDHHS is proud to continue to be part of this program, which assists with costs such as tuition and fees, books and supplies, and room and board.”
Carolyn Clifford, anchor for television station WXYZ Channel 7, emceed the event.
Keynote speaker, former U.S. Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, spoke about how she had a commitment to hiring former foster youth as interns while she was in Congress.
“Foster youth have the ability to endure and the ability to endure is important,” Lawrence said. “Think about a diamond; if you don’t put pressure on it, it will not become brilliant. You don’t have to go looking for that pressure; it will find you. I told my colleagues in Congress that we as a government that fund and administer care of foster children, we have to step it up!”
The Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund provides former foster care students who may not have adequate financial resources to attend college with a scholarship. During the 2023-24 academic year, 386 students at 52 institutions are eligible for support.
Anyone who could not attend Thursday’s event can make donations to the Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund by visiting FosteringFutures-MI.com. Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund is a Section 170(c) non-profit organization. All contributions are eligible for an income tax deduction.
Since 2012, fundraising efforts have totaled more than $1.3 million, with funds awarded as scholarships in the year they were raised.