LANSING, MICH. – The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) has received a $150,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. This grant will support college readiness, enrollment and completion activities to help MCAN make progress toward the “Sixty by 30” goal. This grant contributes to a required funding match connected to a Kresge Foundation grant MCAN received in April.

This first-ever grant from the foundation will support these MCAN initiatives in Southeast Michigan:

  • AdviseMI college advising program.
  • Community Ambassadors in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.
  • Local College Access Network (LCAN) and Michigan Works! staff training.
  • Michigan Higher Education Attainment Roundtable (MIHEART).
  • Roadmap to Opportunity “stackable credentials” outreach materials.
  • Annual educational conference.

“This significant investment by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation will help us to have an impact on students across Michigan,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, executive director of MCAN. “We’re excited when new funders invest in college access in all its forms, and we are grateful the foundation understands the importance of this work. Thank you to the Foundation and thank you to our partners at The Kresge Foundation for this challenge.”

“MCAN is doing great work in Michigan and our region to help students connect with the resources they need to take the next steps in their careers and education,” said Lavea Brachman, vice president of programs at the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “The Foundation values the innovative and collaborative approach that MCAN uses to succeed in moving the needle for college and other post-secondary degree access in Michigan.”


The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a grant-making organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. The two areas reflect Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.’s devotion to his hometown of Detroit and greater Buffalo, home of his Buffalo Bills franchise. Prior to his passing in 2014, Mr. Wilson requested that a significant share of his estate be used to continue a life-long generosity of spirit by funding the Foundation that bears his name. The Foundation has a grant-making capacity of $1.2 billion over a 20-year period, which expires January 8, 2035. This structure is consistent with Mr. Wilson’s desire for the Foundation’s impact to be immediate, substantial, measurable and overseen by those who knew him best. For more information visit


As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN has a mission to increase Michigan’s college readiness, participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college-going students and students of color. For the eighth year in a row, Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate has increased — from 35.7% of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree in 2008, to 41% in 2018. Additionally, it is estimated another 4% of Michiganders have a postsecondary certificate, bringing Michigan’s official 2019 attainment rate to 45%. MCAN’s goal is to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60% by 2030. 


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