Forgotten about for 34 years, Michael Jackson’s money will fund Jacksonville music scholarships
The deluxe version of Xscape features Michael Jackson's original demos, before the songs were "contemporized" for the album.


In 1984, there was no bigger star in the world than Michael Jackson. With the songs from 1982’s Thriller still resonating on the charts, he and his brothers thought the time was right for a family Victory tour.

That tour came to Jacksonville: a three-night Gator Bowl stint in a metropolitan area much less populous than it is today, with $30 tickets a measure of what a hot gig it was.

The concert was out of Jacksonville’s league, but proving that some things never change, the city spent $275,000 to make the gig happen.

That era is long gone now. The King of Pop has passed on. Yet, in a strange twist of fate, a small piece of his legacy will remain, to impact Jacksonville youth with musical aptitude.

Per Jacksonville Chief Administrative Officer Sam Mousa, Jackson “gifted the City $100,000 for music scholarships to deserving Duval County students seriously interested in and actively pursuing the study of music. The funds were placed in a City of Jacksonville Trust Fund; however, only the interest earnings therefrom may be spent on scholarships.”

“To the best of my knowledge and research,” Mousa asserted in an email last week, “no scholarships have been provided from the trust fund.”

The fund has earned, per Mousa, $73,600 in interest. And while the $173,600 must remain in the fund, the city can use an anticipated $5,500 of projected interest this next fiscal year for scholarships, which will be administered via the Kids Hope Alliance, Mayor Lenny Curry‘s reformed structure for children’s programs that budgets at $41 million this year.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]


  • Bill Hardy

    August 7, 2018 at 10:46 pm

    This is not completely true. While I was with the City and later the JCC I cordinated the Annual competition and award of this Scholarship. DA School of the Arts and Mandarin HS provided the judges.

  • Tangela davis

    August 8, 2018 at 8:13 am

    Wow that is awesome
    Micheal Jackson still giving even after death

  • Helen

    August 8, 2018 at 10:46 am

    Thanks for reporting this unusual story. I am just curious how a City forgot about $100,000 donated for scholarships while it was drawing interest for 34 years? Did they forget to name the trust fund a Michael Jackson Music Scholarship trust fund? All financial institutions I know of supply regular statements listing the interest drawn on a savings account or an annuity or a Trust fund! Why are they now only giving a $5,500 scholarship? I read online that the official count for ticket sales was 45,324 tickets, which at $ 30 per ticket meant $1,359,720.00 was the amount collected, which would have more than covered the amount the city’s fronted.

    • D Anderson

      August 8, 2018 at 8:13 pm

      I wondered the same. How cld any city forget about a $100K donation for students?? And why now only $5,500???

  • Barbara L. Platt

    August 9, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    I wondered the same about the interest, unless it was put into a CD and most likely rolled over again, and again, making the interest part of the principal. Too bad it was forgotten about.

  • Kerry Hennigan

    August 15, 2018 at 1:10 am

    Per Bill Hardy’s comment above, I note from the City’s on-line records that $3,067 was approved for distribution from the MJ scholarship fund in 2011 to support voice or instrumental students at the Community Music School of Jacksonville as stated in the Board Minutes of Aug 12, 2011 … ACTION ITEM: FY11-12 It’s the only example I can find using the search facilities available on the website, but still proves that money has been distributed in the past despite the CEO’s “knowledge and research”.

Comments are closed.


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