Our Story & 2016 Recipients
“The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they choose to see the best in everything.” ~author unknown
Future Leaders WI Scholarship Foundation was conceived in November 2016 as #projectfutureleadersWI, a word of mouth and social media effort intent on invoking positivity and hope by identifying tenacious, positive and action-oriented young persons and awarding them a scholarship. Foundation president, Ms Klestinski, had been mulling over the concept of honoring two vastly different yet incredibly generous, intelligent, and strong women - her grandmothers - Myrtle & MJ, through creating a scholarship. Seemingly overnight momentum grew, application requirements were established, and in the last month of 2016, a team of nearly 20 active #projectfutureleadersWI volunteers reached out to friends and former classmates, largely on social media, letting them know a "Myrtle & MJ Scholarship" was available. We planned to award one scholarship - yet the review committee quickly realized the quality of the applicant pool in the Madison area was high...
Through moving 300 word essays plus three letters of recommendation specific to scholarship, three applicants stood out as demonstrating behaviors and efforts consistent with the values and areas of impact outlined in the Foundation's 2016 "Myrtle & MJ Scholarship" rubric. We are honored that the inaugural 2016 Scholarship recipients include:
Jaleah (Verona, WI) was selected as the first place winner: she embodies dedication to “service above self” and growth mindset. She plans on pursuing medicine and psychology and breaking barriers while giving back to underprivileged communities which shaped her upbringing. Her volunteer involvement and leadership roles with Sisters Supporting Sisters, Minority Student Achievement Network, Exploration Academy Restorative Justice program, and Providers and Teens Communicating for Health (PATCH) set her efforts at the forefront of positive leadership in the Madison area.
Rakayah (Deforest, WI) was selected as a second place winner: She demonstrates remarkable resiliency, initiative, and positive momentum heading into higher education and her plans to become a counselor. She plans to instill a passion for strong efforts in education in students experiencing similar challenges as she herself faced and looks forward to providing them with hope and a positive role model. Her tenacity and high standards of success through challenging circumstances set her apart.
A student from Mt Horeb, WI was also selected as a second place winner: this student stands out for their gregarious and positive nature, their entrepreneurial/business goals, and their ability to express their own values while also bringing others together at school creating a safe and productive space for diverse beliefs and backgrounds.
In April 2017 Future Leaders WI Scholarship Foundation/Myrtle & MJ Scholarship was granted federal non-profit (501c3) and state of Wisconsin charitable organization status. With shared vision + tax deductible donations, we are thrilled that Future Leaders WI Scholarship Foundation will grow its impact via meaningful scholarships and key mentorship opportunity for positive and resilient future leaders age 16 and over in the Madison area.