The Morehead-Cain Scholarship is a prestigious merit-based award that attracts top students to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by paying not only all tuition and board, but also all supplies and expenses, plus a generous stipend for travel or study every summer. It was created by the Morehead Foundation in 1951, and renewed by the Cain Foundation in 2007 with a fresh $100 million endowment. Its alumni include many high achievers.
In 2009, Charlotte philanthropist Leon Levine, founder of the Family Dollar stores, decided to create a similar merit scholarship for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Like its model, the Levine Scholarship offers full tuition and board plus subsidized travel and internships. “But we put a little extra spice in ours,” notes Levine.
During one of their summers, the Levine scholars work in a local nonprofit. And then they are given $8,000 to start their own charitable project. Levine sees this as a triple win: Getting some philanthropic good done, and conditioning top students to think about charitable problem-solving. And to top it off, “by the time they graduate, we will have the potential of keeping them in Charlotte. That could be a bonus for the entire community.”
“It seems like every time Charlotte needs a pick-me-up, the Levines are there,” former mayor Anthony Foxx once told the New York Times.