As high school students approach the end of their academic journey, many are left feeling unprepared for the challenges of post-secondary education and the workforce. This issue hits close to home for Christa Funk, Executive Director at Detroit Regional Dollars for Scholars. That’s why she has dedicated her career to helping students in Southeast Michigan overcome the obstacles that come with life after high school.
Christa’s efforts at Detroit Regional Dollars for Scholars have significantly impacted the lives of local students. Founded in 1990, the organization has provided over $1.5 million in scholarships to more than 700 students in the region. But Detroit Regional Dollars for Scholars is more than just a scholarship program. Through its partnerships with 13 high schools across five counties, the organization equips students with the experiences, knowledge, and resources they need to succeed in college and beyond.
Beginning in 10th grade and continuing through high school graduation, Detroit Regional Dollars for Scholars offers tailored programming to its participants. This includes everything from campus visits and post-secondary application assistance to etiquette and networking workshops, FAFSA completion, leadership development, and SAT preparation. By the end of their third year in the program, each student receives a $4,000 scholarship to help break down financial barriers.
Christa has played a pivotal role in the success of Detroit Regional Dollars for Scholars. As the organization’s Executive Director, she leads an 11-member Board of Directors and a 35-member Executive Advisory Board to establish goals and strategies for helping local students prepare for life after high school. She manages the organization’s core finance, administration, communication, and development functions. She strategically develops and executes fundraising efforts through relationship building, pursuing new funding sources, event coordination, and effective communication of program outcomes. Christa also successfully implemented and transitioned the organization’s staff and 15 high school partners to an online project management system, streamlining processes and increasing bandwidth.
Before taking on her role at Detroit Regional Dollars for Scholars, Christa transformed a grassroots academic support program into a research-informed college access curriculum with scalability. She expanded partnerships from four to 13 high schools across Southeast Michigan, increasing annual participation from 40 to over 350 students. Christa coordinated college access programming for over 350 students annually, allowing them to experience higher education opportunities across Michigan, gain financial literacy skills, and enroll in post-secondary education, doubling state averages in college access measures.
In summary, Christa Funk’s dedication and hard work at Detroit Regional Dollars for Scholars have significantly impacted the lives of local students. By providing scholarships and tailored programming, the organization equips students with the resources they need to succeed in college and beyond. With leaders like Christa, we can be hopeful for the future of education and the workforce in Southeast Michigan.
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