Maurice P. Beck, a lifelong advocate for human services, was well known for his leadership of the Michigan League for Public Policy (then called the Michigan League for Human Services), and his ever-present bow tie.
After service in the armed forces during World War II, he earned his master of social work degree at the University of Pittsburgh, specializing in community organizations. After coming to Michigan in 1949, he worked within the United Way system and eventually became the executive director of the League in 1960. An able advocate, he led the League in its work advocating policy decisions that would help Michigan’s vulnerable populations and the organizations that were serving them. After retiring in 1985, he continued to be active as a volunteer for several nonprofit and community organizations.
After his death in March 2002, two organizations that he helped establish, the 501 Alliance and the Human Services Association Workers Compensation Fund, donated $10,000 each to create the Beck Scholarship. This scholarship is in honor of Mr. Beck and his long years of service to the nonprofit sector and Michigan’s disadvantaged populations. The Michigan League for Public Policy is the fiduciary for this fund.
Donations to the Beck Scholarship can be sent to:
Michigan League for Public Policy
1223 Turner Street, Suite G-1
Lansing MI 48906
Credit card donations can also be made by calling the League office at 1-517-487-5436.
Current scholarship winners 2019-2020
Michigan State University
My professional experience includes over 12 years of both micro and mezzo level work in homeless youth services, foster care, and advocacy for youth in the juvenile justice system. I decided to pursue the MSW degree specifically to have a greater impact on the policies that effect those populations. I understand how macro work effects micro and mezzo aspects of social work, but I have now dedicated time and effort to learn how to advocate for those changes. I have learned to look at the world and social work by asking the question “how can I be a catalyst for change?” More than anything, I have dedicated my life to helping others, just as others helped me.
I plan to use my experience and the experience of others to inform policy decisions through work with organizations like the Michigan League for Public Policy, Safe and Just Michigan, and the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness. During my first semester at MSU I organized the first homeless awareness event to bring light to the issues of housing and food insecurity on campus, and we are working on policy suggestions for implementation to support students better. I am also excited for my second-year internship with a state senator to advocate for the needs of Detroiters through community work, as well as legislative work in Lansing. In my professional work, I found myself and my staff feeling voiceless as it related to policy change. I want to ensure people doing the work have a voice in the changes they need to see for the populations they engage daily. I plan to continue to explore how I can use my degree to make legislative change in Michigan after graduation. My goal of impacting policies involving youth homelessness, urban education, and criminal justice reform is slowly becoming reality.
Michael Luis Meza
University of Michigan
“Mental health is misunderstood in this country. From the opiate crisis we face to the way people are treated in hospitals to primary care needs, we are failing. Our health care system ranks very low compared to the rest of the world and much of this is due to inadequate access of care. We interweave our health care model with a complicated maze of insurance policy, mixed with the racial and economic injustice that plagues this nation. Stigma is a common response to the people who come into the emergency room with no insurance. Doctors are limited on time and waiting rooms are overcrowded.
Interpersonal practice and policy go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. I see so many ways that we can fight for our underserved population here in Michigan. I have pushed and questioned a state agency on its practices, and have reached out to our state legislators to propose better ideas then what is already in law and practice. I have written an op-ed on ill-advised sanctions through our licensing departments. I have written to a publicly-funded apprenticeship program in hopes that they might integrate peer support and expand access for licensing. Post-graduation, I will work with state legislators to propose additional measures to Senate Bill 65 and House Bill 4058, which aim to remove barriers to individuals with criminal records.
Our communities deserve our voice. I will continue to advocate for the communities that so desperately need and deserve adequate mental health care. This grant will help me reach these goals as income is limited while attaining a Master’s degree.”