New Orleans—The Michaels Organization Educational Foundation, a non-profit affiliate of The Michaels Development Company and Interstate Realty Management, held a ceremony August 19 at Delgado Community College in New Orleans to honor six residents of The Estates community that have been awarded college scholarships from the foundation. Executives of The Michaels Organization, the Housing Authority of New Orleans’ (HANO) Executive Director Gregg Fortner and Laverne Saulny of Senator Mary Landrieu’s office were on hand for the event.
“The idea of ‘giving back’ has been deeply embedded in our corporate culture by our founder, Michael J. Levitt,” says Ava Goldman, president of The Michaels Development Company, who participated as the event’s master of ceremonies. “Just as we believe in the power of quality, affordable housing to transform communities, we also believe in the power of education to transform individual lives. We are proud to be an organization that supports both.”
The Michaels Organization Educational Foundation is the first scholarship program of its kind in the affordable housing industry and has already awarded more than $17,000 in educational grants to local student in The Big Easy for the 2014-2015 academic year. Of the six recipients to receive honors at the ceremony, several are “first in their families” to attend college. One recipient is an honor roll student pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering and another has ambitions of opening her own restaurant. The grants from the foundation can be used to pay tuition costs at any accredited college, university or vocational training program in the nation and can be reapplied for during each year of education.
A special gift made to the foundation by architecture firm Torti Gallas and Partners, which served as the master planner for the redevelopment of The Estates, has served to benefit the scholarship students at Michaels’ New Orleans communities. Torti donated $38,000 to the foundation in 2012 to be used for future Estates resident scholars.
“The staff and residents of the Housing Authority of New Orleans sincerely congratulate the scholarship award recipients on such an outstanding academic achievement,” Fortner says. “HANO will continue to work with The Michaels Organization Educational Foundation and other endowments to assist the future leaders of tomorrow in pursuing their dreams of higher education while still providing affordable housing for low to moderate income residents.”
Both The Michaels Development Company and Interstate Realty Management are private sector partners with HANO on the development and management of The Estates, which is a multi-phase, 425-unit HOPE VI community located in the Ninth Ward neighborhood of New Orleans.