“What inspires me is to give a helping hand to somebody and watch them parlay that into something meaningful.”
John and Lyn Muse
Founders, Muse Scholars Program
John and Lyn Muse have been giving back to the community together since they met at UCLA, where she was an undergraduate and he was a graduate student. “I was volunteering at a detention center and asked him to come with me,” Lyn remembers, “and we’ve been volunteering together ever since.”
Their connection with the Dallas County Community College District began in 2005, when they established a scholarship fund to help students displaced by Hurricane Katrina continue their educations. In 2009, they established the Muse Scholars Program for students showing not only academic promise but also outstanding leadership.
It’s not as though they don’t have plenty of pressing professional obligations: John is co-founder and partner of HM Capital Partners LLC, a private equity firm, and Lyn owns her own interior design business. It’s just that they firmly believe in using their resources for the good of the community – and not just financially, but with committed personal involvement.
“What inspires me is to give a helping hand to somebody and watch them parlay that into something really meaningful in their lives,” says Lyn, who also serves on the DCCCD Foundation board of directors. “It’s not a handout, just a helping hand – and it’s very gratifying to be able to offer that.”
Lending a helping hand has long been a family affair: John, Lyn and their five children are trustees of the Muse Education Foundation, supporting several private educational institutions. They have also donated time and money to renovating Booker T. Washington High School and to the Chiapas Project, supporting women’s microfinancing loans in Latin America.
With the Hurricane Katrina students having successfully moved on, the Muses’ primary focus is on the Muse Scholars, of whom they personally select and mentor during each academic year. And for the Muses, it’s all about paying it forward.
“We know that the people who become Muse Scholars will enrich their own lives; they’re that kind of people,” says Lyn. “We only hope that as they move into their careers, they’ll pay it forward – not necessarily financially but in some way, maybe as a mentor or volunteer. We know they’ll do great things with what they’ve been given.”