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Press Release


Matt Bach
Director of Media Relations
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317; C: (810) 874-1073;


Michigan Municipal League Foundation Announces New Scholarship

John Barr Scholarship to Provide Education Opportunities to Elected and Appointed Municipal Officials

LANSING, Michigan – The Michigan Municipal League Foundation today launched a new scholarship that will provide educational opportunities for municipal managers and elected officials.

The John Barr Leadership Education Scholarship was unveiled during the Michigan Municipal League’s Capital Conference in Lansing. The Foundation is the fundraising arm of the Michigan Municipal League and it helps the League provide the training and information local leaders need to best serve their communities.

Established with a generous $10,000 investment from MML Foundation Board Member John Barr, the John Barr Leadership Education Scholarship was created from his vision to provide local elected and appointed officials the knowledge and skills they need to lead and govern their communities. Matching donations from MML members, Foundation board members and DTE Energy reached an additional $10,000.

Barr has served as Ypsilanti city attorney since 1981 and advises several other municipal clients. He also has taught law at Eastern Michigan University and credits much of his success over his long career to the training he received from the League early on.

“I feel a big debt to the League for all of the information and learning I’ve been able to access and all of the friends and connections I’ve made through the years,” said Barr, who is also a Foundation supporter. “Local government is the bulwark of the system, a protector of our democracy and freedom.”

Barr added the knowledge he gained from attending education sessions through the Michigan Municipal League and its affiliate organization, the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys, were a tremendous help to him as he was starting out in municipal law and in assisting local governments.

“As we go through life, I feel I’m very blessed and I want to give back,” Barr said. “It’s one way that, perhaps, I can leave society a little better than I found it.”

Five yearly, one-time scholarships of up to $1,000 for training of local elected or appointed officials will be awarded. The training must have a leadership component and practical application to the individual’s role as a public official in municipal government. The training may not be partisan.

“The Michigan Municipal League Foundation is truly honored to be able to provide this scholarship thanks to the enormous generosity of John Barr,” said Foundation Board Chair Patricia Lockwood, Mayor Pro Tem of Fenton.

The first scholarships will be awarded in late spring, Foundation President Gisgie Dávila Gendreau said, adding that the organization hopes to grow the scholarship fund so that it can continue for years to come. Applications will be accepted through May 31 and again in the fall through Nov. 30.

“The Foundation invests in training for local government officials, supports public spaces projects that improve quality of life, and connects communities with funding opportunities,” Gendreau said. “This scholarship is another way we can help make communities better.”

To be eligible, applicants need to be current members in good standing of the Michigan Municipal League. Priority will be given to members of one of the following MML affiliate organizations: Michigan Municipal Executives, Michigan Association of Mayors, Michigan Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys and Michigan Women in Municipal Government. Need will be considered in the scholarship committee’s decision making.

The scholarship application period is now open. Go here for the application form:

For additional information contact Matt Bach, director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League, at 810-874-1073 and

The Michigan Municipal League Foundation helps create and maintain vibrant communities in Michigan by funding placemaking projects and educating community leaders and advocates. We recognize that communities are economic drivers, so the Foundation plays a key role in connecting communities to opportunities to help them grow and thrive.




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