“I have always thought that one of the most important things we can do is help the education system in Washington, DC. Because the education you receive is the most important thing you can do right now for your life.”
The Junior Achievement® Essay Competition, founded in 2008, is sponsored by David Rubenstein. Each year, high school students in Greater Washington are invited to write an essay and compete for over $110,000 in college scholarships. For the 2015 competition, more than 1,800 qualified applicants submitted compelling essays answering this question: What does the American Dream mean to you and is it still thriving in Greater Washington?
Through Mr. Rubenstein’s financial commitment, 2015 marked over $1 million in support of the Junior Achievement® Essay Competition. A first, second and third place winner is selected each year from each of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, and each is awarded a $10,000 scholarship. One grand prize winner selected from all applicants receives a $20,000 scholarship. In addition, from each of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, the school with the greatest number of eligible applications receives a $6,000 grant.
Junior Achievement gives young people the skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future and make smart academic choices. Volunteers help students with financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship.
The Rubenstein Awards for Highly Effective Educators honors excellent DC Public School (DCPS) teachers, school leaders, support staff and aides with an award of $5,000. The awards are funded through the generosity of David Rubenstein. Award winners are recognized at the annual Standing Ovation for DC Public Schools event, hosted by DC Public Education Fund and held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
“I came to Washington after graduating from college and law school with scholarships. I wasn’t able to go to those schools without the use of significant scholarship money. So therefore I’ve tried over the years to participate in helping others who need scholarships as well.”
The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. is one of the most significant private sector financial supporters in the metropolitan region of scholars seeking higher education opportunities. Mr. Rubenstein initiated the David M. Rubenstein/Economic Club of Washington, D.C. Scholarship Program in 2008. Since then, Mr. Rubenstein and the Economic Club have presented more than 100 graduating seniors from D.C. schools with more than $500,000 in scholarships, helping to make it possible for them to pursue higher education opportunities.
In the summer of 2015, a paid internship program was launched. The program provides an additional level of support to the scholarship recipients by allowing participants to gain work experience while earning money to help fund their continuing education. Mr. Rubenstein supports the funding of the program by matching the contribution made by The Economic Club. Together, these contributions fund the paid summer internships held by scholarship recipients.