Michael's Gift

blue hands (2)Michael's Gift is a memorial fund developed to honor Michael Ridgeway, who died at age six. He was a typical little boy: loud, always dirty, a lover of helicopters and soccer balls, but mostly his family and friends remember him for his unwavering compassion, quite beyond his years. He was a "smiler" and a giver, and it wasn't uncommon that he would show up to his kindergarten class with homemade presents for everyone. Michael's family and friends thought the best way to keep his memory alive was to create a program that would reflect his caring attitude toward others. The purpose of Michael's Gift is to help Orange County youth reach their full potential by funding enrichment activities such as karate, art classes, sports programs, sports supplies, music lessons and more. Parents who cannot afford to pay for their children's extracurricular activities or equipment apply to the Michael's Gift fund for help in managing these costs.

Since July 1, 2010, Michael's Gift has helped support our local children and youth participate in many wonderful enrichment activities at a cost of over $42,000. All of these funds have been either donated or earned through fundraising efforts of the Michael's Gift Committee and Youth Council.

Please be advised that a new request form has been posted as well as a new "step-down" process has been implemented. The information is as follows:

First year request --> **Child may receive a maximum of $100 for the calendar year

Second year request --> **Child may receive a maximum of $75 for the calendar year

Third year request --> **Child may receive a maximum of $50 for the calendar year

Fourth year request --> **Child may receive a maximum of $25 for the calendar year

Fifth year request --> **Child may not receive any assistance for the calendar year

**Assistance levels may be adjusted based on funding availability. Please ask what current levels are when applying as applications may be old.



Eligibility Criteria:

  • Youth must attend Orange County Public Schools or,
  • Youth must be an Orange County resident, and (Proof of enrollment or residency may be required)
  • Youth must be under the age of 18

Download a Michael's Gift Application
Funds are not used to duplicate existing resources. There is a cap placed on the amount that can be utilized each year per child. In addition, there is a cap placed on each individual activity that Michael's Gift will pay out. Both of these caps are determined at the beginning of the county's fiscal year. However, the cap may be adjusted throughout the year depending on the availability of funding. Please check with the Office on Youth for this information. In the event Michael's Gift funds drop below the threshold designated by the Michael's Gift committee, consideration for assistance will only be given to children who have not accessed Michael's Gift in the past. 

Make A Contribution

You can help by making a tax-deductible donation to this special fund. All gifts will go directly to assisting Orange Country children participate in many different activities. Checks can be made payable to Orange County with a notation in the memo for Michael's Gift. All payments can be mailed to Michael's Gift c/o Orange OOY 146 Madison Road, Suite 205 Orange, VA 22960. A receipt of payment will be returned to you in a timely manner. You can also donate by debit or credit card by visiting our donations portal and choosing "Michael's Gift" from the drop-down menu.

If you have any question regarding this program, please do not hesitate to call the Office on Youth at (540) 672-5484 ext. 4. We would love to share with you the wonderful activities this program has helped sponsor!