ONE MILLION DEGREES:OMD is a breakthrough scholarship program fueling quantum leaps in community college achievement. OMD created a 360-degree service model that provides financial aid, academic advising, individual coaching and tutoring. A University of Chicago study reports that OMD scholars are 47 percent more likely to re-enroll each semester. Michael cofounded OMD in 2006 and led efforts to raise more than $20 million to empower more than 1,800 low-income students to succeed. Become an OMD coach and join the movement!
SPARK CHICAGO:Students are more engaged in school when they can visualize how the material they’re studying connects with what they want to achieve for their future. SPARK bridges this gap by providing workplace-based mentorships for middle school kids. Through its partnerships with more than 150 companies and 1,800 mentors, 92 percent of SPARK students stay on track to graduate versus 68 percent of their peers. Michael helped lead the launch of SPARK CHICAGO, serving on its Advisory Board, Board of Directors and chairing its first annual fundraiser.
COMPLETE THE DEGREE:Complete the Degree was created in 2012 to motivate adults to return to college and finish their degrees. CTD assisted returning students by helping them to navigate the application process, providing individual counseling and running workshops and retention activities to ensure students were on track to graduate. Representing One Million Degrees, Michael worked with colleagues at Women Employed and CAEL to launch CTD and help thousands of adults to reenroll in college to pursue their degrees.
ILLINOIS COMMISSION TO ELIMINATE POVERTY:Imagine being a family of three and surviving on less than $9,800 per year. For 660,000 Illinoisans, this is the brutal reality - “extreme poverty.” In 2008, the General Assembly created a commission to produce a long-term strategy to cut extreme poverty and advise the state on related policy matters. Michael was appointed by the Governor to serve as a Commissioner and helped to compose the state's strategic plan: “Building A Pathway to Dignity and Work.” Between 2014-2018, extreme poverty fell by 48,860. Illinois has much work to do.