By: Ali Meisel, Director of Development
Back in 2016, Michael Wilson knew he wanted to give his time to support young people’s education. As he searched for volunteer opportunities, his boss, Sean Perrone, from the literary management firm Kaplan Perrone Entertainment, introduced him to Fulfillment Fund. That’s when Michael joined our legacy mentoring program, which paired him with a Fulfillment Fund student. He and his mentee began to meet monthly for fun activities, like hiking and going to the movies, and their relationship blossomed.
A few years later, Fulfillment Fund forged a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles to seamlessly support our mentors while we began to hone our strategic focus on college access and college completion. While admittedly not easy news for Michael to hear at first, he welcomed the opportunity for new beginnings with Fulfillment Fund — never wavering in his firm belief in our core vision to transform lives and communities through the power of education. While he remains in touch with his mentee, who is now in college, Michael has also evolved his involvement with Fulfillment Fund in tandem with the growth of our organization.
He has served on our gala committee, stepped into leadership as the inaugural chair of our newly relaunched Advancement Committee, of which he remains a member, and has also gotten his company involved by creating a paid summer internship specifically for Fulfillment Fund college students. In addition, he has become a generous donor, as well as an exceptional fundraiser and advocate for us among his networks.
Michael’s journey with Fulfillment Fund is truly incredible. We sat down to talk to him to learn more about his experiences over the years.
FF: What inspired you to get involved with Fulfillment Fund in the first place?
MW: I was fortunate to come from a household that afforded me many privileges, including when it came to my education. I attended a boarding school with great college counseling, which helped get me into a private college, and I was lucky enough to have parents who were willing and able to pay for it. I soon realized that my experiences and the opportunities I had are not a universal given. I realized that there are smarter, more motivated people out there who may not get to create the lives they want because they didn’t have the same opportunities and access that I did, and I wanted to do something about it.
FF: What has kept you involved over these last seven years?
MW: I am still involved with Fulfillment Fund because there is still so much work to be done to address the inequities that exist in our education system and the broader community. I am a firm believer that we as members of our various communities, large and small, have a responsibility for one another, and for me, this means a lifelong calling to use all my resources to make a difference in the communities I am part of. When we help one student, the ripple effect of that student’s success helps the community as a whole. There is a big hill in front of us to overcome when it comes to education equity, but I know that I have to continue doing whatever I can to help push the boulder up that hill.
FF: What excites you about where Fulfillment Fund is headed next?
MW: I think Fulfillment Fund’s expanding focus on career readiness is incredibly important. I’m really excited about their three-pronged approach to college access, college success, and career readiness, and I can’t wait to continue helping. For me, this is the most exciting and why I wanted to get Kaplan/Perrone involved on that side of things as well.
FF: Do you have any advice for others who are considering getting involved with Fulfillment Fund?
MW: If you believe in the power of education and creating access to opportunities for all students regardless of background or zip code, join us! There is no organization doing a better job of improving the community around us, and we need more people involved so we can reach more students and families. What the Fulfillment Fund does is invaluable, and I would put our mission up against any other charitable organization. Get in touch with them, or me, and I promise, you’ll want to get involved!
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