For the past decade Hazel Park’s Promise Zone has funded college scholarships for high school students in the district.
“I am continually inspired by the dedication of community leaders as we’ve continued to grow and evolve the program,” said Brandon Gleaton, director of the nonprofit promise zone group, in a statement. “As Michigan’s economy continues to evolve, postsecondary education becomes increasingly important for individuals, employers and communities.”
The group this year is hosting its annual fundraiser dinner from 5:30 pm to 8 pm March 9 at the Regency Banquet Hall in Southfield. Tickets for the event are $75.
Last year’s fundraiser was virtual and raised $25,000. Gleaton said the goal for this year’s in-person event is to raise $50,000.
Though the promise program for Hazel Park school district students gets money from grants and donations, it still has to raise money locally to support the effort.
All the money goes to the promise zone, which funds tuition-free scholarships for Hazel Park
High school graduates can gain a tuition-free associate’s degree at Oakland Community College with a scholarship. Students who attend a college other than OCC get up to $1,500 per semester and a total of $6,000.
Money from the promise zone also funds a college advisor to work with high school seniors to get financial aid, apply to colleges and seek other scholarships.
Each year about 300 students get funding from the Hazel Park Promise Zone, according to Gleaton.
More than 100 students are expected to get scholarships from the program this year.
“With less than 15 percent of Hazel Park adults holding a postsecondary degree or certification, most Hazel Park students aspire to be the first in their families to earn a postsecondary credential,” Gleason said. “By investing in Hazel Park students, you can have an impact on the students themselves, their families, and the future of the community and state of Michigan.”
Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed legislation in 2009 to allow 10 promise zones statewide in communities that met or exceeded the state’s average poverty level for families with minor children.
Hazel Park’s promise zone was started in 2010 with grants from major donors such as the Sutar-Sutaruk-Meyer Foundation and local fundraising efforts. It also gets a smaller portion of its funding from the state.
Students from Hazel Park High School’s class of 2012 were the first to get scholarships.
Tickets for the March 9 fundraising dinner can be purchased by calling Gleaton at 248-658-5183 or visiting the website at app.gopassage.com/events/hp-promise-zone-9th-annual-fundraising-dinner