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Delivering Dreams for a Decade

Lansing promise operates through a public-private partnership.

Lansing Promise marks 10 years of local scholarships

The Lansing Promise has been providing scholarships to Lansing School District graduates since 2012. In the decade since it began, more than 1,600 scholarships have been awarded to students seeking to continue their education at the college level or enter the skilled trades.

The Lansing Promise is a place-based scholarship that ensures every kid that lives and goes to school within Lansing School District boundaries can access postsecondary education. According to Justin Sheehan, executive director of the Lansing Promise, it focuses on helping students in three specific ways:

  • Identity: “Every human being is inherently worthy. Students and their families need to feel worthy of the work we’re doing, the investment that people are making in them, and ultimately a postsecondary education and career before they will actively pursue their dreams,” Sheehan said.
  • Belonging: “It can be hard to go into a setting where you don’t see anyone you can relate to,” he said. “We take groups of students to tour the Michigan State University campus then eat together at Brody’s; and just like that, MSU is 10 minutes away, not a lifetime.”
  • Opportunity: “Every student who lives, attends and graduates within the Lansing School District boundaries can have a full ride to Lansing Community College for an associate degree program, with all books, course fees and tuition paid,” Sheehan said. “Alternatively, they can have $10,000 applied to their tuition at MSU, Olivet College or Davenport University. We’re also looking into adding skilled trades programs and journeyman’s programs.”

The Lansing Promise operates through a public-private partnership.

“One part is the Lansing Promise Zone Authority, which Lansing School District helped get started and is quasi-governmental,” Sheehan said. “The other is the Lansing Foundation, a 501(c)(3) governed by a 21-person board, and an additional fund that has allowed us to become financially sustainable and expand what we can offer students.”

Sheehan said there are several ways community businesses and residents can get involved in helping the mission of the Lansing Promise.

  • Join the Promise Community Council. “We seek and welcome a diversity of thought on all our boards and councils because, while it does make decision-making harder, it also makes the answers and decisions we come to better,” he said.
  • Mentor students and young adults. “We want kids in shops, in factories and in offices meeting people and discovering what they do — and don’t — want to do after high school,” Sheehan noted. “Mentors can work with kids in grades 6 through 12 or work with young people ages 18 to 24.”
  • Donate. “We are incredibly grateful to those who come to our benefit dinners, give to Lansing Promise through a will or trust, and more recently appreciated stock,” Sheehan said. “Michigan State University Federal Credit Union also facilitates our Children’s Safe program, where Promise Pledges are put in a student’s dedicated account as soon as kindergarten.”

Learn more about the Lansing Promise at lansingpromise.org.



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