2016 Fostering Futures Scholarship Event - Detroit

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$334,134 raised to provide scholarships for Michigan youth in foster care at annual event held this year at Joe Louis Arena


 Five hundred former foster youths will receive college scholarships following the fifth annual Fostering Futures Scholarship Benefit held Thursday evening at Joe Louis Arena.

Thursday’s event and other fundraisers this year raised $334,134 for scholarships through Michigan Education Trust (MET), the Michigan Department of Treasury’s 529 prepaid college tuition program.

Three hundred and thirty five people attended the event, which featured a keynote speech from Detroit Lions linebacker Tahir Whitehead. He partners with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to encourage young people – including foster youth – to lead a healthy lifestyle and succeed in school.

“My diploma hangs on the wall. Every time I walk by it, I have a big smile on my face,” said Whitehead, who graduated from Temple University. “I’m told there are many foster youth who want to go to college. But few of them end up going. It’s tough for them when they lack the support of other teens who have permanent homes with their parents.”

A partnership between MET and MDHHS makes Fostering Futures Scholarships possible.

“The money raised last night will help more young people go to college,” said Robin Lott, executive director for MET. “At MET, we realize how important higher education is to developing highly skilled young adults who can achieve their dreams. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, donors and guests we are able to fund the Fostering Futures Scholarships and make college a reality to youth who are exiting foster care.”

Just under 13,000 students 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 three percent eventually earn a degree.

“Many of these young people want to attend college, but they face so many barriers,” said MDHHS Director Nick Lyon. “Working with our partners such as MET, we can help these youth remove barriers to college attendance so that they can become self-sufficient and contribute to Michigan’s economic comeback.”

State Sen. Marty Knollenberg of Troy received a Making a Difference Award from Fostering Futures Scholarship at the event for his support of foster youth. He is cosponsor of legislation that would add a check off box on state income tax forms allowing taxpayers to contribute to Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund.

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..

Sixteen Michigan colleges and universities have programs to assist former foster care students. They are Baker College-Flint, Eastern Michigan University, Delta College Ferris State University, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Lansing Community College, Michigan State University, Mott Community College, Northwestern Michigan College, Saginaw Valley State University, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, University of Michigan-Flint, Washtenaw Community College, Wayne County Community College, Wayne State University, and Western Michigan University.

As an IRC Section 170(c) organization all donations to MET's Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund are tax deductible.

This event is hosted in partnership with


Dinner Sponsor



DTE Foundation

DTE Energy Foundation

Graduate Sponsor

Advomas logo

Advomas Healthcare Eligibility Advocates

Baird logo



Park West Foundation

Park West Foundation

Fellowship Sponsors

MetroParent Logo



MESP logo



Supporting Sponsors

Capital Mortgage Lending

Capitol Mortgage Funding

Intuition College Savings

Intuition College Savings

JPMorgan logo

J.P. Morgan


Meridian Health System

Meridian Health Plan

Michigan Association of State Universities logo

Michigan Association of State Universities

MILottery logo
Michigan Lottery


Skillman Foundation Logo

The Skillman Foundation 

Wayne State University School of Social Work

Wayne State University School of Social Work


Media Sponsors

WXYZ logo


MAB logo

Michigan Association of Broadcasters