Minority Enterprise & Educational Development, Inc. (MEED) is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to positively impact Colorado's minority communities by providing educational opportunities, empowering minority businesses, recognizing business successes of minority ventures and giving voice to the power of collaboration through scholarships, training and celebration of the state's cultural diversity.
MEED began in 1982 with a group of volunteers that were responsible for organizing the Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week for the State of Colorado. This week was designated by the President of the United States to honor the many successful minority entrepreneurs in our country. In 1989, the volunteers started a scholarship program for high school students in the Denver Public School System, giving 10, $1,000 scholarships every year to high school seniors. In 1996, the group felt that it needed to formalize to be a stand-alone entity and applied for non-profit status. MEED was granted this status in 1997. During this same time, the Helping Other People Emerge (HOPE) Scholarship was implemented and focus of scholarships changed from high school to middle school students. Since then, MEED has distributed nearly $600,000 in scholarships to minority youth throughout Colorado.
Each year, Minority Enterprise & Educational Development, Inc. (MEED) awards Helping Other People Emerge (HOPE) Scholarships to middle school students who have achieved academic excellence or shown significant improvement in their studies. The HOPE Scholarship is unique because while the student matures and succeeds, so does the scholarship. MEED has awarded over $700,000 in HOPE Scholarships since its inception.
The HOPE Scholarship is a $500 scholarship, which is deposited into a trust account where it draws interest until the student's high school graduation. The student can then apply the matured trust to their college of choice. Additionally, the HOPE Scholarship, in partnership with Community College of Denver, awards up to 15 credit hours at the Community College of Denver to the parents of the recipient. Currently MEED awards students from Denver's Kepner, Lake, Bruce Randolph, Merrill , Skinner, Centennial, Kunsmiller and Rachel B. Noel Middle Schools.
In 2013 MEED began a partnership with Denver Water to award the Denver Water Conservation Award to students who come up with innovative new ideas on how to conserve our greatest natural resource, water. Six awards were presented that year.
The Backpack and School Supply Collection Program began in 2002, providing backpacks filled with school supplies to homeless students that attend Denver Public Schools. For the 2012-2013 school year, MEED provided over 3,629 backpacks, filled with supplies. Donations of backpacks, school supplies, personal items, dried foods and food cards are contributed by organizations and individuals from all over the city. Collection of backpacks and supplies starts in the early spring and runs through the end of July.
In the Trailblazers - Women Entrepreneurs of the Next Generation Program MEED partners with the Women's Business Enterprise Council-West presenting a panel of successful women business owners in selected non-traditional industries. The panelists are adrenaline mavens who have broken records, stereotypes, boundaries and glass ceilings. They bring their vision and talent to the marketplace, helping to build the economy and carve a path for future women business owners. MEED and WBEC-West are in their seventh year of presenting this very successful event.
MEED raises funds for its scholarship program by holding the Annual MEED Classic Golf Tournament. This annual event is held at Fox Hollow Golf Course, Lakewood CO. The tournament features golf for 144 participants, luncheon, and awards reception. It is always a successful event.
MEED is also an active member of Community Shares and participates in their CFC and CCC events.
Lydia Cordova-Student -"Before the HOPE Scholarship, I hadn't the slightest idea what I would do after high school. But it lit a fire beneathe me. Receiving the scholarships was my cue to start thinking about college and what to make of myself. It encouraged me further to know that my hard work could be rewarded and recognized. I have several goals for my pending college experience, as I find myself looking at Ivy League schools to majoring in law. The HOPE scholarship helped to release the potential within me that I had yet to tap into, and for that I am truly appreciative."
Matt Bond - Denver Water is a strong advocate for involving young people in learning the value of water and taking action to conserve and stretch our drinking water supplies. Thanks to our partnership with MEED on the Denver Water Conservation Award as part of the HOPE Scholarship, we are able to extend our reach in the community and offer relevant, age-appropriate water education to a greater number of young people. We look forward every year to the contest and the wonderful water-conservation solutions students submit, and it is tremendously satisfying to be able to reward the winners with the gift of higher education. After all, it will be these very same students that will soon be in charge of deciding Colorado's water future.
Homeless Education Network Program Staff -The Backpack and School supply drive that MEED provides the homeless program of Denver Public Schools helps us begin the school year with needed supplies for our district homeless students. MEED sets up the drive with community business and organizes the picking up and stuffing of the packs. This is a large under taking with the many supplies and backpacks donated. Some years it has been as many as 3,000 backpacks! If our program did not have this amazing outreach each year sponsored by MEED we would not be able to begin the school year as prepared for our students. The compassion, care, kindness, dedication and amazing support of MEED is such a beacon of light for our homeless families. We have such gratitude to MEED for their constant care of our program!