Vanessa Kana. Photo provided by Vanessa Kana

By Anne Pryor
Margaret’s Fund

Congratulations to Vanessa Kana on being selected as the 2017 recipient of Margaret’s Fund: A Northside Scholarship.

Vanessa is a graduate of Black Hawk Middle School and East High School. She is continuing her education at Madison College this fall with the goal of a degree in criminal justice or pre-law.

Originally from Cameroon in West Africa, Vanessa is fluent in French and did not speak English when she moved to the United States in sixth grade. This language gap made the transition to Wisconsin very difficult. With great determination, she met the challenge and worked hard to learn and expand her abilities with English.

Vanessa’s career goal is to become an FBI agent. She is interested in this work because she wants to help people who cannot solve their own problems and provide someone they can count on. She also sees it as one way to help stop violence in the world. Toward this career goal, Vanessa participated in the Madison Police Department’s Explorer Post 911. She explained, “Through this program I have learned about leadership and working as a team member. It has made me more confident in my choice to work in law enforcement. It made me feel like my dream is going to come true.”

The Margaret’s Fund review panel was impressed by Vanessa’s strong contributions to the Northside. She has volunteered at the Vera Court Community Center, including at the Vera Court community garden, even winning an award as their person of the year. She also has volunteered with the Madison Police Department and at East High School. We wish her the best in her educational and career goals.

Vanessa is the ninth recipient of the annual Margaret’s Fund scholarship. The other awardees, all Northsiders, are: Tara Hoffman (2009), Nicole Tackes (2010), Stacey Yang (2011), Omobolanle Kikelomo Olumbi (2012), Chekwube Obieze (2013), Melissa Marie Alexander (2014), Aminata Bojang (2015), and Felicia Jones (2016).

Margaret’s Fund is a scholarship that was established in 2007 to support residents of Northside Madison neighborhoods who are pursuing higher education. The award goes to a graduating high school senior in odd years and to a returning adult in even years.

Margaret’s Fund is professionally managed by the Madison Community Foundation. Donations are tax deductible and very much appreciated. Learn more at