MCAN Founder Receives National Award

Lansing, MI – September 16, 2014 – Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) Executive Director and Founder Brandy Johnson was honored with the Executive Leadership Award of Excellence by the National College Access Network (NCAN) at their national conference yesterday in Phoenix. Johnson is one of only three award recipients nationally, being recognized for her contributions and leadership in sparking the college access movement in Michigan.

“I’m incredibly humbled to be receiving this recognition—from both the national organization and my colleagues and peers in Michigan,” said Brandy Johnson. “As a first-generation college student myself, I’m inspired every day to keep working toward our goal of having 60 percent of Michigan residents with high-quality degrees or credentials by the year 2025.”

In less than a decade, Johnson has cemented MCAN’s foundation by aligning the critical players and institutions and partnering with organizations ranging from philanthropy to government to business. Under her leadership, MCAN has raised over $3.5 million in federal and state funds to invest in Michigan’s college access movement. Johnson and her team have accomplished big things over the past several years, including establishing almost 50 local college access networks, providing direct training to hundreds of K-12 counselors, hosting a 450-person annual conference, and growing programs like College Application Week, Decision Day and FAFSA completion that touch tens of thousands of Michigan students each year.

Johnson’s work is making an impression nationally—earlier this summer, she was invited to join “The White House Opportunity Agenda,” a task force led by First Lady Michelle Obama that focused on the vital role of school counselors in impacting students’ college and career readiness. Johnson also spoke at the White House’s higher education summit in July.

In addition to being recognized with this award, Johnson is also a featured speaker at NCAN’s conference this week. Johnson’s session, called “Mobilizing Cross-Sector Leaders for College Access & Success,” highlights different tactics to rally community leaders to be champions in the college access movement. In Michigan, MCAN has successfully mobilized the governor, legislature, state superintendent and other relevant players to support college access statewide.


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