The leaders of a University of Wisconsin-Madison college research organization and Dane County's Boys and Girls Club said no public money was used when they helped Michael Brown's three siblings secure college scholarships.
Brown, an unarmed Missouri teen, was killed during a police shooting moments after security footage allegedly shows him taking part in a robbery. Sunday, as part of a Ferguson, Missouri, unity really, Dane County Boys and Girls Club CEO Michael Johnson announced he had teamed up with the Wisconsin HOPE Lab to make sure Brown's siblings received college money.
"And there's a website set up through the Wisconsin HOPE Lab," Johnson said Sunday. "And if you go there, we'll make sure the family gets this money."
The Wisconsin HOPE Lab is a new, nonpartisan, grant-funded program, located inside UW's School of Education. Since May, the staff has been researching college kids across the state, helping more Wisconsinites, especially minorities and lower-income students, receive a college education.
Lab Director Sara Goldrick-Rab said the lab's mission, to make sure all kids who want a college education are able receive one, inspired her to start a personal Go Fund Me page. Then, she said, the anonymous scholarship donor contacted her on Twitter, and she put them in contact with the Brown family lawyer.
"Of the $20,000 we raised, $10,000 came from the Urban League of St. Louis, $5,000 came from the Boys and Girls Club of St. Louis, $1,000 came from Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Then the other $4,000 came from donors who restricted their gift to support their family," Johnson said.
To critics, both Johnson and Goldrick-Rab said they work every day raising the same type of funds for locals. As an example, Goldrick-Rab said this fall the Wisconsin HOPE Lab is distributing $4 million in financial aid, provided by Great Lakes, to Wisconsin undergrads from all backgrounds.
"In order to study how grants can improve their chances of succeeding in college," Goldrick-Rab said. "Recipients will be from middle- and working-class families, all over the state, every race, ethnicity and gender."