The year 2015 marks 25 years since The Michaels Organization’s founder and CEO Michael J. Levitt first created a scholarship program for residents of the affordable housing communities that his companies own and manage. Since then, more than 2,000 aspiring students have benefitted from more than $4.6 million in college scholarships, administered by The Michaels Organization Educational Foundation.
To celebrate this milestone, The Michaels Organization has kicked off its “I Am A Michaels Scholar” campaign, which tells the stories of some of these resident scholars, both in print and on video. The videos premiered Sept. 9 at The Michaels Organization Educational Foundation Golf Tournament, held in Marlton, NJ, an annual fundraiser for the scholarship program.
“We are so proud of these scholars and hope that by telling their stories, we will inspire and encourage more of our residents to pursue their dreams of higher education in the years to come,” said John J. O’Donnell, president of The Michaels Organization.
According to O’Donnell, “giving back” to the people and communities where The Michaels Organization works has been a core value ever since the organization’s first two companies were founded in 1973.
“We are invested in what matters most—housing, family, and education,” O’Donnell said. “What better way of giving back than with the gift of an education.”
Each year, all residents who live in The Michaels Organization's affordable, mixed-income or military housing communities are invited and encouraged to apply for scholarships. The scholarship funds, which are paid directly to the educational institution, can be used toward higher education at any accredited college, university, or vocational training program in the country, and students can reapply every year of their education.
All private donations raised from associates throughout The Michaels Organization’s business network are matched two-for-one by Michael Levitt and his wife Patricia Levitt.
To create the videos, The Michaels Organization engaged the help of a multi-year scholarship recipient, Rhasaan Nichols, who grew up in North Philadelphia at a community owned and managed by The Michaels Organization. A graduate of Yale University, Nichols is now a filmmaker based in Los Angeles, whose company Nichols Makes Sense produces innovative and inspiring media, including documentaries.