LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Nearly 400 Michigan youths in foster care are eligible for college scholarships from the Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said Friday.

The 11th annual Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund Benefit Dinner, Thursday evening at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, drew nearly 220 guests, who contributed a record-setting $107,125 toward the fund. The Michigan Education Trust and MDHHS organized the benefit. So far this year, the MET has raised $146,980 toward the scholarships.

“Foster youth have the ability to endure and the ability to endure is important,” said keynote speaker Brenda Lawrence, former U.S. Congresswoman. “Think about a diamond; if you don’t put pressure on it, it will not become brilliant. You don’t have to go looking for that pressure; it will find you.”

About 10,000 children and teens are in the Michigan foster care system run by MDHHS, the department said. Nationally, fewer than 10% of former foster youth go to college after high school, and fewer than 3% earn a college degree.

Since 2012, fundraising efforts toward the fund have totaled more than $1.3 million. The organizations award the scholarships in the year they were raised. 

If you couldn’t make it to the benefit dinner, you can donate to the Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund by visiting here. Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund is a Section 170(c) nonprofit organization. All contributions are eligible for an income tax deduction.