“The accomplishment I'm most proud of is establishing the Milwaukee’s Finest Scholarship Foundation and providing scholarships to students who want and deserve to go to college.” - Jerel Ballard

Jerel Ballard

Board Director and Program Alumnus

Jerel Austin Ballard was the first African American Student Government Association President at Columbia College Chicago, where he represented over 9,000 students at the largest Arts and Communication College in the Midwest. Aside from holding a seat on the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Student Advisory Committee, Ballard is a co-founder and Board Member of a nationally recognized youth leadership non-profit called Lead2Change Incorporation.

Through this award-winning nonprofit and other philanthropic agencies, Ballard has made recommendations and determined the release of nearly $200,000 in the Greater Milwaukee Area.

Ballard contributed to raising $60,000.00 for Habitat for Humanity which led to the building of two houses for low-income families sponsored by Riverside University High School. In 2013, Ballard organized and implemented an anti-violence march/press-conference engaging nearly 100 youth and the Mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

During Ballard’s duration in college, he held many high-profile internships, one of which in the Mayoral Press and Communications Office for Chicago’s Mayor, Rahm Emanuel. While his time spent in Mayor Emanuel’s office were extremely challenging and educational, he collectively prepared daily morning and evening news digest for the Mayor and other public officials throughout the City of Chicago. Throughout his tenure with the City of Chicago, Ballard interned for U.S. Senator, Assistant Majority Leader of the Democratic Party, Richard “Dick” Durbin Chicago’s Office where he did casework, scheduling and press related task.

As the year of 2016 arrived, Ballard transferred to Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. in the Office of U.S. Senator Durbin were he became more equip with speech writing. Thanks to the Fund for American Studies, Ballard received a full-ride scholarship to study at George Mason University while becoming a Crisis Communication Research Analyst for a Public Affairs & Public Relations firm, Kglobal.

Based on Ballard’s many accomplishments, he was awarded over $40,000.00 in scholarships and was selected to participate in a panel discussion in Denver Colorado for the Community Investment Network Conference. In June of 2016, Ballard recently founded the “Milwaukee’s Finest Scholarship Foundation” for students who demonstrate a financial need for higher education. BlackGivesBack.org, BolderGiving.org, The Columbia Chronicle, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and USA Today wrote a profile on Jerel and are published on their web page.

Up Close And Personal

What are 2 things people wouldn’t know by looking at you?

I enjoy thrilling and exciting things like rock climbing and kayaking.

If you could change one thing about you, what would it be?

I would like to be taller.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Establishing the Milwaukee’s Finest Scholarship Foundation and providing scholarships to students who want and deserve to go to college.

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