As the CEO of several D.C. property management and development companies, and as a working mother of three, the Rev. Canon Michele V. Hagans knows how to get things done. She’s an avid supporter of the Cathedral Scholars program, which equips promising D.C. high school students with the tools and educational boost they need to get into college. Over more than 20 years, it boasts a stunning 100 percent success rate. But for Michele, getting into college is just the first step – succeeding and thriving in college is a whole other matter.

“Who can the Scholars go to when they need help?” she asked. “Do their families have the resources and experience to support them while away at school?” She wanted to expand the program to follow the students through their four years in college and bring them back to the Cathedral to serve as alumni mentors. She also wanted to connect them with advisers to help them navigate campus life, and eventually to keep them connected to the Cathedral after graduation.

She dug deep to help fund the Cathedral Scholars program with two multi-year pledges, funded through a donor-advised fund, which is a charitable investment account that allows donors to make grants to their favorite charities. She also has made plans to provide for the Cathedral in a bequest.

Her commitment to the Episcopal Church in Washington runs deep. With three degrees from Howard University and an MBA from The George Washington University, she was ordained in the Diocese of Washington and served as Diocesan Canon for Ministry Initiatives before retiring in 2021. She is a former member of the Cathedral Chapter and a current member of the Dean’s Council.

Through it all, she has been a big believer in giving back to the city that formed her into one of its most influential developers and making an investment in the church that has sustained her faith. “This Cathedral has been a source of inspiration for me on my own faith journey,” Michele said. “I want to make sure that it will continue to inspire the next generation.”