On Their Way: Mann Educational Opportunity Fund

Madison high school students thrive in unique scholarship and mentoring program

Norma Madsen (left), longtime donor and advocate of the Mann Scholars program, celebrates West High School student and Mann Scholar Simeon Parker’s graduation. Proud mom Renee Johnson is pictured in the middle.

The Mann Educational Opportunity Fund is a scholarship honoring Bernard and Kathlyn Mann, longtime Madison residents whose strong belief in education helped ensure the graduation of their five children from Madison Memorial High School and later from universities.

The program accepts students attending Madison high schools who show potential for academic achievement but face significant economic and personal challenges in reaching their full potential. Because of the racial achievement gap, students of color are the primary participants.

Each scholar receives an annual scholarship for academic needs, tutoring and mentoring, and college readiness support. Since its inception in 1991,
the Mann Fund has awarded nearly $275,000 in scholarship grants to support the program.

Board members attribute the unique program design, committed staff, and robust community partnerships as the reasons for the program's success and longevity.

“The Mann Scholars is one of the most innovative pre-college programs of its kind,” says board of directors co-chair Mark Richardson. “It boasts a 98 percent graduation rate during a time when kids of color have struggled mightily across the district.”


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