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Mercy College Commits To My Brother's Keeper Scholarships

My Brother's Keeper scholarship founder, Joe Schlater, with recipient James Holmes.
My Brother's Keeper scholarship founder, Joe Schlater, with recipient James Holmes. Photo Credit: Contributed

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – Mercy College is supporting President Barack Obama’s call to action by asking community members to contribute to the college’s My Brother’s Keeper Scholarship.

The president’s signature initiative issues a call to action focused on “helping more of our young people stay on track. Providing the support they need to think more broadly about their future. Building on what works – when it works, in those critical life-changing moments.”

In 2013, Mercy College collaborated with Joe Schlater, a finance executive, to establish the My Brother’s Keeper Scholarship fund to benefit African-American or Hispanic males enrolled in Mercy’s School of Business.

Phillip Keefe, director of planned giving, said, “As a college we are committed to helping students improve their life outcomes. We want to ensure that they are reaching their full potential. Our motto is ‘Come as you are’ -- regardless of wealth or anything else.”

Schlater was inspired to start the scholarship at Mercy College after meeting James Holmes, a business honors student at Mercy who grew up in a crime-stricken area of Los Angeles. Schlater met Holmes through a Virtual Enterprise competition.

“I was impressed by how James and all of the students presented themselves at the VE fundraising event,” Schlater said of Holmes. “I felt strongly that if I did not do something to help these students advance academically and socially they might never have the chance to really fulfill their dreams. That inspired me to start this scholarship. I grew up in a world of the haves and the have-nots – the differences can be striking.”

The scholarship, set up by Schlater, is funded by him for two years. Schlater and the college are now looking for additional contributions.

“This is the start of a process – there is a feel of satisfaction but not accomplishment,” said Schlater. “There are still many other boys and men out there that need help.”

Mercy College is a private, not-for-profit higher education institution that offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate  degree and certificate programs within five prestigious schools.

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