Community Foundation Challenge leverages almost $1 million to promote college access efforts
An additional investment of $1.2 million allows the expansion of the Michigan program.
The Council of Michigan Foundations will continue the successful Community Foundation Challenge Grant initiative encouraging Michigan community foundations to expand, strengthen and sustain scholarships for students in need in their local communities.
Community foundations are ideal candidates to provide this support because of their long-standing support of scholarships, their leadership and commitment to making college education accessible and affordable for local residents, and their positions as leaders in Michigan communities.
The purpose of the Community Foundation Challenge Grant initiative is to increase college graduation rates in Michigan.
An initial round of Community Foundation Challenge Grants was completed in August.
The Kresge Foundation provided $500,000 to 13 Michigan community foundations. That leveraged $890,060 in local funding, far exceeding the required 1-to-1 match. It also encouraged the establishment of an endowment of nearly $500,000 at community foundations, which will support the effort in perpetuity.
An additional $1.2 million Kresge investment announced this week will allow the Council of Michigan Foundations to enhance the initiative statewide.
The Kresge Community Foundation Challenge works in tandem with the Michigan College Access Network, whose mission is to dramatically increase college participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income and first-generation students.
The Michigan College Access Network’s goal is to increase the proportion of Michigan residents with college degrees or high-quality credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025.
“New local college access networks are in startup stages in communities all over Michigan,” says Council of Michigan Foundations’ Donnell S. Mersereau. “Community foundations are eager to leverage their collective strength to build college attainment in their own backyards, and across the state.”
With the additional support, the Council of Michigan Foundations will reach more community foundations and strengthen all the participants’ efforts.
“We’re thrilled that so many community foundations throughout Michigan are playing a leadership role in local college access efforts,” says Caroline Altman Smith, a program officer for Education at the Troy, Mich.-based Kresge. “By funding a second round of challenge grants, we hope to encourage even more community foundations to become engaged partners, attract new donors, and build local endowments to fund future college access efforts.
“This will help to increase the number of college graduates in the state and thereby increase economic competitiveness and quality of life.
“Our state is making great strides in building a college-going culture, but we still have a long way to go.”