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W.K. Kellogg Foundation Gives Promise to Detroit Youth

  • WKKF awards $3.5 million to support Detroit Promise, a tuition free path to college available to all Detroit high school graduates.
  • The grant will support attendance to 22 participating 2-year and 4-year colleges and also will pay for “Promise Path” counselors to work with students to help ensure their academic success.
  • Students have until June 30, 2017, to apply at www.DetroitPromise.com.

DETROIT — A W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) grant to Detroit Promise will support thousands of Detroit high school graduates with tuition and services as they pursue a college education over the next three years.

The $3.5 million WKKF grant is part of a collaborative effort by the State of Michigan and the City of Detroit to help ensure that Detroit youth have the opportunity to pursue a college education and prepare for 21st century careers through the Detroit Promise, a program administered by the Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation. It is part of a $30 million campaign led by the Michigan Education Excellence Foundation (MEEF), which seeks to shepherd the program through a critical time of transition and development.

The grant will support the 2-year and 4-year scholarship program to meet anticipated growth in demand. It also will support efforts to enhance retention rates so that more students successfully obtain degrees and certificates.

“I greatly appreciate the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in leading efforts to fund scholarships for the Detroit Promise,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “This community is providing increased educational opportunities that students here didn’t have previously, which is critical for their future success and for the future of Detroit.”

Under the leadership of Snyder, MEEF has raised nearly $10 million in seed money to initiate the scholarship program, established in 2013 and formerly known as the Detroit Scholarship Fund.
The program has helped more than 2,200 students attend college; support from WKKF will ensure that the scholarship and supportive programs are fully developed and available to Detroit youth as public funding becomes available during the next couple of years under the Detroit Promise Zone, a tax capture program initiated by Mayor Mike Duggan.

“The support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will bring Detroit Promise closer to becoming a permanent part of the city’s effort to remove barriers to opportunity for young Detroiters,” Duggan said. “This grant will help transform more young lives.”

Students have until June 30 to apply for the promise for the fall 2017 semester. Students can apply at www.DetroitPromise.com.

The WKKF grant also will support a pilot of a new cutting-edge coaching program, Detroit Promise Path. The program supports full-time counselors who work one-on-one with Detroit Promise freshmen to stay enrolled and succeed at the five participating community colleges: Wayne County Community College District, Oakland Community College, Macomb Community College, Henry Ford College and Schoolcraft College.

The Detroit Promise Path “success coaches” meet regularly with Detroit Promise students, develop a supportive community for these students and work to help them reach their academic goals. As an example, the Detroit Promise Path program, including the installation of a success coach and student wrap-around services at Henry Ford College, was piloted this year with a grant from the Applebaum Family Foundation.

Working with Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC), a nationally recognized research and policy organization, the goal of the program is to significantly increase college completion and graduation for low-income Detroit college students. Created in 1974 by the Ford Foundation and a group of federal agencies, MDRC is the primary implementation and research partner for Detroit Promise Path and will coordinate program and all research-related activities for the evaluation.

“Preliminary results (which will be released in early summer) are promising,” said Colleen Sommo, the lead researcher for MDRC. “Students who received the additional services were more likely to persist into their second semester and to enroll full time in both the first and second semesters than students who received only the scholarship.”

“The W.K. Kellogg Foundation investment will assure that more Detroit youth will enter college and successfully earn post-secondary degrees,” said Sandy Baruah, President and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “Thousands of young Detroit residents will be better prepared for and able to succeed in the 21st century global economy.”

This grant also will support the results and lessons drawn from the Detroit Promise Path pilot to educators across Michigan including the 17 universities partners who have joined Detroit Promise to provide qualified Detroit graduates a tuition free path to a four-year bachelor’s degree. Many universities run similar supportive support and coaching programs for scholarship students and those who are the first in their family to attend college. Thus, the work supported by WKKF will provide a replicable model that will benefit low-income, first time college students from across Michigan and across the country.

About W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

About the Detroit Promise

The Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation administers the Detroit Promise on behalf of the Michigan Education Excellence Foundation and the Detroit Promise Zone. The scholarship program was initially started as the Detroit Scholarship Fund in 2013 as part of the effort put forth by Governor Rick Snyder to provide Detroit high school graduates a tuition fee path to college. The program has supported the college education of over 2,200 Detroit residents. With the establishment of the Detroit Promise Zone authority in 2016, Mayor Mike Duggan has paved the way for public funding to sustain the scholarship program in future years.

About the Michigan Education Excellence Foundation

The Michigan Education Excellence Foundation (MEEF) is a nonprofit, philanthropic organization dedicated to supporting innovative education initiatives for students in Michigan. By investing in innovative, education initiatives, MEEF seeks to build an attractive workforce, foster entrepreneurship, and nurture economic growth in Detroit and the state of Michigan. The Foundation funds these educational initiatives with a focus on supporting education for Michigan students who need the support most. MEEF is currently focused on raising nearly $30 million to support the Detroit Promise program as it faces increased demand, the need for innovative coaching services, and private funding before public financing is available.