Purpose Prize

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Michael A. Gould

New Futures
Purpose Prize Fellow 2011

Fulfilling his dying brother’s wish, Gould helps low-income students continue their studies after high school.

In 1999, Michael Gould’s brother, Allen, made a dying wish. He wanted Gould to use $700,000 from his estate to help low-income youth in Washington, D.C. “I am leaving $700,000 to charity and am too tired now to figure out what to do with it,” he told Gould. “I know you are interested in the community and young people, and I trust you to put it to good use.”

Gould did not take his brother’s last request lightly, and after Allen’s death he quickly found a way to meet a need in D.C. “I was struck by the number of low-income students in our community who appeared to have the ability and determination to complete postsecondary education, but lacked the knowledge, funds and encouragement to do so,” Gould recalls. So in 1999, after retiring as an executive at the World Bank, he founded New Futures, which offers financial and mentoring support to low-income D.C. area youths for post-secondary education.

The organization pays up to $12,000 for students to attend either short-term professional certification courses or two- and four-year college programs. Awarded after Pell Grants and loans have been applied to school costs, the scholarships often make the crucial difference between a student being able to attend school or not.

Since the program’s inception, $2 million in scholarships has been awarded to approximately 220 students. Many choose shorter-term programs and pursue careers as medical assistants, teacher’s aides, auto technicians and cosmetologists. New Futures partners with leading community organizations, which nominate their most deserving young people to New Futures’ selection committee. Scholarship winners receive ongoing mentoring throughout their schooling.