Melvin W. Jones Foundation
The Melvin W. Jones (MWJ) Foundation was established in 2002 to honor the legacy of the late Dr. Melvin Wallase Jones. Melvin’s lifelong mission was to encourage academic success, enhance leadership skills and mentor and pursue avenues for the career development of students, novice professionals and the community as a whole. His philosophy “Never, Ever, Ever …Give Up” is the principle upon which the foundation was established. The MWJ Foundation provides financial assistance, networking resources, and services in support of mentoring initiatives, scholarships, and professional career development programs. Our Mission is to promote social advocacy, encourage academic achievement and personal development.Our Vision is to:
- Promote academics, leadership and self-efficacy;
- Provide resources and services in support of educational, mentoring and community programs;
- Serve as a catalyst in the development of world leaders; and
- Support mentoring initiatives, social development and scholarships.
At this time, the signature program of the MWJ Foundation is the Melvin W. Jones Learning Community on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The “Jones Scholars,” are freshmen students who live and take two classes together to foster their leadership development and academic excellence. The “Jones Scholars” have been in existence since 2004. There have been over 250 Jones Scholars and 90 have graduated from UNL (and other institutions) with most of them still matriculating at UNL (or other colleges). Recently, six Jones Scholars have received their Master’s degrees and 2 completed law school and passed their state bar exams –the first time !! Jones Scholars major in a variety of educational fields, ranging from engineering to education to the fine arts. The Jones Scholars are a multiculturally diverse group of students who stand poised be leaders and to take their place in society. On the UNL campus, Jones Scholars are officers in a variety of organizations and provide leadership and serve as role models for others. Jones Scholars have participated in study abroad programs (Ireland, Mexico, England, India, and Argentina just to name a few countries) and a number of philanthropic endeavors. Most notably, Jones Scholars went to New Orleans to help rebuild Katrina-ravaged neighborhoods; and tornado-ravaged areas in Alabama and Oklahoma, as well as participated in the installation of solar panel for low income community in Colorado. In the Spring of 2011, one Jones Scholar was selected from over 1000 students nationwide to participate in the anniversary re-enactment of the “Freedom Rides”….yes, Jones Scholars are making their mark!
In Memphis, TN, the Foundation is reaching out to low income and at risk children to help them succeed academically. Because we are committed to “advancing scholars one tier at a time” we conduct a homework assistance program for elementary through high school-aged children from the Memphis public schools. The program operates three times a week and provides tutoring and other structured learning support activities for the students. The services are provided by volunteers, many are retired educators and professionals, in space donated by a local church. We also support these “Jones Scholars” with a mid-year backpack distribution program to replenish supplies as the students go into their second semester. An annual “Trivia Night” fundraiser helps to support these initiatives.
In Atlanta, GA our newest initiative, an Alopecia Areata camp for kids, will launch Labor Day weekend 2014. In conjunction with Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge, GA, we will be offering a mentoring and self-esteem camp for children ages of 8-18 who are coping with Alopecia Areata (an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss of varying severity levels). In support of that activity, we participate in the Spin-for-Kids fundraiser, an annual cycling event that raises money to provide camp opportunities for children with serious illnesses, disabilities, or other life challenges. We will continue our participation and host a cycling team for Fall 2014.
The MWJ Foundation is soliciting your support to help us provide financial assistance to promote educational and personal development opportunities for deserving young people. Partnering with the MWJ Foundation advances our commitment to cultivate the minds and aspirations of adolescents and young adults while continuing the legacy and richness of our family history. It is also our hope that by your participation in our events; or volunteering in our programs or through your donation, the MWJ Foundation will develop and nurture new programs. The MWJ Foundation is not simply a way for creating academic scholars but serves as a catalyst in the development of world leaders. Thank you in advance for your support of our mission, vision and programs.