January 11, 2016
michellMichell Merhige, in honor of whom Marcy Mager established her scholarship.Marcy Mager is a donor advisor at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia. The Michell Merhige Scholarship Fund provides an award of up to $1,500 to a graduating senior attending a Fairfax County public school and honors the memory of her daughter - a young woman who overcame great obstacles in her life and went on to graduate from college, establish a successful career and give back to her community in numerous ways.

We asked her about why she chose to open a fund with us here at the Community Foundation.

How did you find out about the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia?

I was interested in establishing a scholarship to honor my daughter and read about the Fairfax County Public School services to support homeless students including scholarships to help them in college. The head of that department put me in touch with Louise Foreman, who had established such a scholarship in her son William's memory. Louise sent me to Eileen and she helped put the whole project in motion.

What are your philanthropic goals and interests?

I want to provide educational support for capable students who have overcome great personal and financial challenges to achieve success. My goal is to accumulate sufficient funds to expand the number of recipients and the amount of each award.

Currently, the scholarship provides an award of up to $1500 each year to a graduating senior attending a Fairfax County public school. The scholarship supports young people who, like Michell, are succeeding in the face of adversity.

Why did you choose to partner with the Community Foundation on your personal philanthropy?

The Foundation has a history of excellent community service, a knowledgeable and capable staff and a clear process for collecting and managing funds like ours. They make a complicated task simple within an amazingly positive environment.

How do you promote your scholarship to the local community?

We have a website for the scholarship that highlights the role of the Community Foundation and links to its website. Additionally I send annual mailings to about 150 friends and relatives who are interested in the scholarship. Many have become donors. Through donations and bequests I hope to eventually make the scholarship self-sustaining.