Applications for the Mikey23 Foundation $2,500.00 Scholarships are Open Until May 1

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In Downtown Lansing, community members may have noticed a colorful mural painted near the CATA Transportation Center. It shows a young Black man smiling. His name was Michael McKissic II, and the big graffiti honors his memory. His father, Michael McKissic, created a foundation named Mikey 23 after Mikey, as he was known, was killed at the age of 23 from gun violence in 2015. 

McKissic’s mission is to improve the lives of young people through innovative education and training in the area of skilled trades. In one of their ongoing projects, the Mikey 23 Foundation gives scholarships to high school seniors for $2,500.00. These students must write an essay about how they would stop violence in their community and how violence makes them feel. This year, students can apply till May 1. 

“By being in the city of Lansing and the surrounding areas, we noticed that the youth are, were, and still are involved in a lot of gun violence, or violence in general,” McKissic said. “And so we decided to start the foundation in Michael’s name, and we picked that topic, not just how they will stop violence, but how it makes them feel because we have learned that some of the kids who are involved in the program have lost their loved ones through gun violence and just listening to their story.” 

Students impacted by the foundation’s work spoke about how it changed their lives. The $2,500.00 scholarship began three years ago. It changed the lives of 2022 Winner Reese Robinson, a sophomore at the University of Michigan, and 2023 Winner Clara Freeman, a freshman at Grand Valley State. For her scholarship, Freeman wrote about how school shootings are normalized in the area that she lives in and the solutions she came up with to stop them. 

“This scholarship definitely helped me make my way to Grand Valley,” Freeman said. “It helped pay for my tuition, and I got to march alongside them during an event to bring awareness towards shooting, and it has definitely helped me come up with some active solutions for this problem while I’m on campus.”

Robinson, the 2022 winner, also spoke about the impact of the Mikey23 Foundation on her life. “With what I’m planning to do, I’m majoring in political science and history, on the pre-law track, so I kind of just focus on how one, that gun violence is a really big problem right now, especially in Lansing and two, how I, as a lawyer, would use my power for good,” Robinson said.

This foundation supports many gun violence victims or people who have lost loved ones to gun violence and brings awareness to the Lansing community. McKissic said that gun violence is affecting especially people between the ages of 13 and 24 years old.

“We want to know how it makes them feel because you know that trauma effect is something else,” McKissic said. “When something is constantly happening in your community, I mean you are living in this every time you get up, […] they got to go to school, they got to study so how are they concentrating if they worried about going home or they worried about their friends, brother got shot or their sister got shot. This is psychological for these kids.” 

McKissic calls the youth within the foundation “Mikey’s kids” because he couldn’t have any of his own. This foundation is not only keeping his son’s legacy alive but also impacting many other people’s lives. 

“It’s also been a great opportunity to do things like this, speak about it, or mention it to my other friends or people who are younger than me and are still in high school,” Robinson said. “I think it’s been really impactful to me because it’s kind of built a little community in like how I’ve been able to branch out and spread the word about this wonderful foundation to the other people I know.” 

Robinson advises students applying for the scholarship not to be intimidated and to write from the heart. 

For more information or to apply for the scholarship visit  

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