September 18, 2021 | Detroit, MI | AMN – More than 480 foster youth are eligible to receive college scholarships following the ninth 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).
Friday evening’s event at the Roostertail along the banks of the Detroit River was attended by approximately 150 guests who raised $31,615 for scholarships through MET, the Michigan Department of Treasury’s 529 prepaid education program. So far this year, MET has raised $38,969 for the scholarships.
Both the fundraiser dinner and raffle will benefit youth who have experienced foster care in Michigan. A partnership between MET and MDHHS makes Fostering Futures Scholarships possible.
“I am proud of the hard work and effort our staff put in each year to make the Fostering Futures Scholarship possible,” said State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks, who spoke at the event. “The extraordinary generosity of our sponsors, donors and guests make the dream of college a reality for students exiting foster care. These dollars provide some help with college costs when there may not be many other options available.
Close to 11,500 youth are in the Michigan foster care system run by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Nationally, fewer than 10% of former foster youth nationally enroll in college after high school and fewer than 3% eventually earn a degree.
During his remarks at the event, Demetrius Starling, executive director of the MDHHS Children’s Services Agency, noted the challenges that youth who experience foster care face in going to college and the important role that the Fostering Futures Scholarship can play.
“Too often these young people are not able to go to college,” Starling said. “Youth that want to go to college deserve an opportunity to pursue a higher education. Some of these young people are here tonight. Please hear me when I say this: We are so proud of you! You are strong, resilient, and capable.”
Carolyn Clifford, anchor for television station WXYZ Channel 7, emceed the event. Keynote speaker Robert E. Thomas – a Detroit native who was in foster care as a child and has experienced success as an engineer and community leader – received the “Making A Difference” award. Thomas also is a foster care consultant.
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 2021-22 academic year, 487 students at 58 different institutions are eligible for support.
Anyone who could not attend Friday’s event can make donations to the Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund by visiting www.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.
Above, keynote speaker Robert E. Thomas received the Making a Difference Award at the Fostering Futures Scholarship fundraiser in Detroit. He is shown with, from left, Robin Lott, director of the Michigan Department of Treasury Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning, and Diane Brewer, executive director of MET.