DETROIT, Mich. – More than 540 foster youth are eligible to receive college scholarships following the eighth 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 Roostertail along the banks of the Detroit River was attended by 300 guests who raised $87,900 for scholarships through MET, the Michigan Department of Treasury’s 529 prepaid college tuition program. So far this year, MET has raised $175,207 for the scholarships.
The dinner, silent auction and raffles – including a $100 raffle with the top prize of the winner’s choice of a Western Caribbean cruise, an Alaska cruise or a Napa Valley Winery Tour – benefit youth who have experienced foster care in Michigan.
A partnership between MET and MDHHS makes Fostering Futures Scholarships possible.
“The Michigan Department of Treasury is proud to provide college financial support to those youth who have experienced foster care through the Fostering Futures Scholarship,” said State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks, who spoke at the event. “Our sponsors, donors and guests are very generous. Because of them, we can make the dream of college a reality for students exiting foster care.”
About 13,500 youth are in the Michigan foster care system run by MDHHS. Fewer than 10 percent of former foster youth nationally enroll after high school and fewer than 3 percent eventually earn a degree.
“At MDHHS, one of our core values is opportunity,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy Director for Administration Elizabeth Hertel, who also spoke at the event. “We want to provide opportunity for all Michiganders – regardless of their socioeconomic background. Youth who are in Michigan’s foster care system often lack the family support that most of us take for granted. They deserve an opportunity to go to college if that’s what they want to do.”
Carolyn Clifford, anchor for television station WXYZ Channel 7, emceed the event.
Anyone who could not attend Thursday’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 a federal tax deduction.
Since 2012, fundraising efforts have totaled more than $1.3 million, with all funds awarded as scholarships in the year they were raised.