Milwaukeeâ€™s Finest Scholarship Fund
Jerel Ballard, Milwaukee native and Senior at Columbia College is aiming to make a difference in the lives of his peers and the generations to come. Earlier last week, on Wednesday February 8th, I had the honor of attending the event, I arrived expecting it to be your usual scholarship dinner. Lot’s of old men in stuffy suits, bland finger foods, and the “inner city” superstar scholarship recipients who managed to graduate from the “out of the hood program”. To my surprise it was quite the opposite, everything about this event embodied our city in the most beautiful sense. The overall vibe of the charity event was warm, welcoming, and transparent, entertainment was provided by Rufus King’s High School Jazz and Orchestra Musicians and delicious food catered by Swig and The Smoke Shack, all locally sourced eateries. The Scholarship Board of Trustees is made up by educators, parents, and students in the community. Ballards vision is for the people BY the people.
“I believe in cross collaboration, the young can learn from the old and vice versa.” Jerel was in school himself when he decided to take a leap of faith and do something never seen before. “Freshman year when I ran into my financial problem I was $5,000 in debt, my guidance counselor told me to drop out, luckily I didn’t listen but a lot of my friends did and now they’re thousands of dollars in debt and can’t return to school.” After interning at Capital Hill in Washington D.C. Ballard decided to start a scholarship fund to help students in similar situations have a chance at achieving greatness no matter where they come from. Jerel had doubts and reservations when first venturing into starting The Milwaukee’s Finest Scholarship Fund, but he gives thanks to his solid support system of friends, family, mentors and teachers for helping transform this dream into a reality. Ballard told us at CopyWrite, “Every now and then I run into obstacles but now I’m confident that the seeds that will be planted will make an influence.” The Milwaukee’s Finest Scholarship Fund hopes to expand within the next 5 years and target special interest groups, possibly branching off to separate scholarship award funds. Milwaukee desperately needs these types of organizations and role models in order to build a brighter future for our city. A strong community makes for even better leaders. We can’t wait to see how far this dynamic young leader and his organization will go. /CW
TO DONATE, GO TO MFSCHOLARS.COM/DONATE PHOTOS PROVIDED BY MKE FINEST SCHOLARSHIP FUND
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