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February 20, 2014 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2014-02-20

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metro >> on the cover

New Opportunity
For College Students

$8 million grant from the William Davidson Foundation
fuels Hebrew Free Loan College Loan Program.

Vivian Henoch I Special to the Jewish News


The Right Agency
For The Job
With the average cost of higher edu-
cation closing in on $30,000 a year,
students seeking financial assistance
have become the norm. According to
a recent study released by the Institute
for College Access & Success, an
estimated 62 percent of students in
Michigan graduate in debt.
Open to undergraduates, gradu-
ate students and students going back
to school later in life, the William
Davidson Jewish College Loan Program
replaces the community's existing
Jewish Educational Loan Service (JELS)
with a significant increase in funding
As David Contorer,
HFL executive direc-
tor, explains, "Our
community has pro-
vided financial assis-
tance for education
since the '40s, but the
William Davidson
Jewish College Loan
Program takes HFEs
service to a new
level. We now have the critical dol-
lars needed to reach out to students
statewide and to double our capacity in
terms of the students we can serve and
the size of the loans we can provide.
"The process itself will be seamless,
from the user-friendly online applica-
tion through the interview and assess-
ment with students and their parents,"
Contorer adds. "And, because HFL is
a holistic, full-service agency working
with many partners in the commu-
nity, we have the wherewithal and the
infrastructure in place to patch our
loan applicants into JVS, Jewish Family
Service and other social service agen-
cies when necessary:'
To qualify for need-based, interest-
free loans up to $7,500 per year,
students are required to be Jewish
Michigan residents who are U.S. citi-
zens, enrolled full-time in accredited
colleges or universities in Michigan
(with some exceptions on a case-by-
case basis). To be eligible for loans,
applicants must document finan-
cial need by completing the Free


February 20 • 2014


Application for Student Aid (FAFSA
at www.fafsa.ed.gov) and pursuing
all other available funding sources.
Beyond defraying the cost of tuition,
HFL interest-free student loans can be
applied toward room and board, the
purchase of textbooks, some travel and
other college living expenses.

Keeping Brains
And Talent In Michigan
"By reaching out
to loan applicants
across the state,
we are delivering a
powerful message
says Michael Berke,
HFL president.
"We're saying to our
Michael Berke
young people that
we want them here.
We want them to graduate, to be eco-
nomically self-sufficient and to thrive
in Michigan.
"And for students living out-of-state
and thinking about coming home, this
could sweeten the pot to help them get
that graduate degree or establish their
residency back in Michigan:' he adds.
"We're driving home a clear message
that resonates throughout the state,
and it is consistent with the Jewish
Federation's NEXTGen Detroit agenda,
which is to attract and retain our next
generation of professionals, scientists,
engineers, doctors, lawyers, teachers
and entrepreneurs:'
It's an unparal-
leled opportu-
nity now, observes
Harriet Orley, HFL
board vice president
and chair of the
William Davidson
Jewish College Loan
Harriet Orley
Program. "It's thrill-
ing to see that we
are making a long-term investment in
students building their futures by help-
ing them accomplish what they want to
do in school. Our hope is to ease some
of the heavy burden of college debt
today. By providing supplemental loans
— those 'last dollars in — we want to
help our students cover some of those
expenses that can make the difference
between 'just getting by' and a fuller
overall educational experience:'

Building On
Community Legacy
The Davidson college loan program
reflects the legacy of a vision-
ary Detroiter and builds on the
longstanding connection between
the William Davidson Foundation
and the Jewish community of
Metropolitan Detroit.
"Mr. Davidson had an entrepre-
neurial spirit, valued educational
advancement and supported a vibrant
Jewish community," said Jonathan
Aaron, president of the William
Davidson Foundation. "Hebrew Free
Loan's William Davidson Jewish
College Loan Program is designed
to help more Michigan-based Jewish
students have access to higher educa-
tion and to alleviate some of the costs
and debt that often come with the
pursuit of higher education degrees.
"Ultimately, we hope recipients
from this program will continue Mr.
Davidson's passion to make Southeast
Michigan's Jewish community a thriv-
ing place to work and live:'
Projecting that HFL will provide
loan service to 250 to 300 students in
the first year of the program, Berke
noted that the William Davidson
Foundation has made a lasting and
dramatic impact with immeasurable
benefit to the community.
"We have a perfect marriage of
supply and service delivery for the
demand," he stated, emphasizing
the high returns on investment.
"We know for a fact that our loans
are paid back — historically more
than 99 percent over time. Even so,
the Foundation and our partners in
Federation have taken a bold step in
launching a statewide program of this
"We may be in uncharted terri-
tory here, as we only can estimate
what the response will be. But we are
ready — because our next genera-
tion is calling. We are very proud and
humbled to have the opportunity to
serve them:'
For information, go to www.
jewishcollegeloansmi.org or con-
tact Laurie Banks, director of the
Davidson loan program, email info@
jewishcollegeloansmi.org or call (248)

Young Social Entrepreneurs
Are Eligible For Grants
Young Jewish adults with a vision to create cultural,
spiritual, educational, service and community-
building projects for their peers can begin apply-
ing for a 2014 Natan/NEXT Grant for Social
Entrepreneurs. Applications will be accepted
through March 7, and recipients will be notified in
June. Grants of up to $10,000 each will be awarded
to projects that demonstrate long-term potential to
engage young Jewish adults.
Since 2010, Natan and NEXT have awarded
more than 21 social entrepreneur grants, total-
ing $126,000. From new spiritual communities
to a Jewish music festival to a create-your-own
Haggadah website, past grantees have realized their
dreams by creating and building start-up projects to
help young Jewish adults explore Jewish life.
Through its work with local Jewish communities
and organizations across the country, NEXT under-
stands the desire of Birthrighters to engage with
Judaism in personal, authentic and meaningful ways.
Potential applicants can learn more about the
Natan/NEXT Grants for Social Entrepreneurs dur-
ing NEXT's upcoming webinar on Feb. 27 at noon.
RSVP by emailing grants@birthrightisraelnext.org .
To apply for a Natan/NEXT grant and get addi-
tional updates, visit www.birthrightisraelnext.org/
grants or visit NEXT on Facebook: facebook.com/

Challenge Detroit
Accepting Applications
Challenge Detroit, a national initiative focused
on revitalizing Detroit by retaining and attracting
top talent to the city, has launched year three of
the program and is now accepting applications for
2014-2015 Fellows.
Challenge Detroit provides the opportunity for
talented individuals to live, work, play, give and lead
over the course of a yearlong fellowship program.
Fellows work with host companies four days a week
and spend the fifth day partnering with nonprofits
in and around Detroit on month-long challenges
designed to positively impact the city and region.
"The incredibly bright, ambitious and innovative
thinkers we draw through Challenge Detroit have
the potential to transform the city in lasting ways:'
says Deirdre Greene Groves, executive director of
Challenge Detroit. "The response has been over-
whelming, and we can't wait to meet the city's next
set of future leaders:'
Challenge Detroit will select 30 innovative leaders
from Detroit and across the United States. Those
selected will engage in monthly team challenges,
work at one of the top companies in the region,
receive a $36,000 annual salary plus benefits typical
of the host company, live in the city of Detroit, par-
ticipate in a leadership development program, and
receive benefits such as memberships to various
organizations, discounts, event access and more.
Host companies for year three include some
of the region's most innovative corporations and
nonprofits, including General Motors, CBS Detroit
Radio, the Detroit Lions, the United Way of
Southeastern Michigan and Crestmark Bank.
Challenge Detroit is accepting applications until
Sunday, March 9. The year in Detroit will begin
in September 2014. For more information and to
apply, visit www.ChallengeDetroit.org .

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