Matt Carl, a KZCF Love Where You Live Scholarship Fund Recipient.

As KZCF scholarship recipient Matt Carl was growing up, he always wanted to help others. "My dad taught me that you always help others because it’s the right thing to do," he says. Matt decided on a career in law enforcement early on, but needed college to make that dream come true.

Unfortunately, it turned out that the first people needing his help would be his own family. His mother was diagnosed with cancer during his sophomore year at Hackett Catholic Prep.

During this time, Matt learned from his mother that "you must keep going no matter what." He knew he would have to step up and carry some additional loads while he and his father cared for his mother.

By 2014, his senior year at Hackett, Matt decided to study psychology and criminal justice at Western Michigan University so he could stay in the area due to his mother’s illness. He applied for a variety of scholarships, including KZCF’s Love Where You Live Scholarship.

Meeting the scholarship requirements for school and community involvement, leadership, a strong work ethic — and financial need because of family medical bills — Matt received the Love Where You Live Scholarship. During his college years, he worked at Kingdom Indoor Soccer Center and also as a security guard. His scholarship was renewed each year while he was in college. Matt’s jobs equaled a full-time work schedule, but he also maintained a 3.7 GPA with a full class load.

Matt’s mother passed away during the fall semester of 2017.

"She knew I was going to finish college, because I promised her I would," Matt says with a smile. "The KZCF scholarship gave my parents a sense of security, that I was going to be financially stable through college.

"I know what it’s like to struggle, but I also know there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel," he reflects. "The scholarship meant more than I can explain — more than I can put into words — that my mom knew I was going to be finishing my degree."

Matt graduates this April 2018 debt-free. He hopes to land a job with Kalamazoo Public Safety and get further training at Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Police Academy. All to make his dreams of helping others come true.

The Kalamazoo Community Foundation administers a variety of scholarships for students who live or go to school in Kalamazoo County. This includes college or a trade/technical school after high school. To learn more or to view the complete list of scholarships, visit

• Donate to the Love Where You Live Scholarship Fund or another scholarship.
• Establish a named scholarship fund. Contact Donor Relations at 269.381.4416.
• Volunteer to serve on a scholarship committee. Contact Scholarship Manager Nancy Timmons at
• Share your journey as a past KZCF scholarship recipient. Contact us at

Click here to read the next 2017 Annual Report article "Investing In Our Community"

This article was originally published in the Kalamazoo Community Foundation 2017 Annual Report. To view the complete 2017 Annual Report, click here.