A chance is all they need

"Many underprivileged youth will never know a life free of the hardship they were born into. While others turn their back, we reach out.

We believe that education provides the foundation needed to break the cycle of poverty for a generation."




Michael Oher
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Michael Oher, Founder of the Oher Foundation, is a heartfelt storyteller, #1 Draft pick and NFL Super Bowl Champion who is dedicating his life to making a difference in the lives of kids who need it most. As someone who has personal experience with facing the adversities created by the seemingly inescapable cycles of poverty and homelessness, Michael is choosing to take a stand for the socio-economically disadvantaged youth who are so often overlooked and forgotten.  


The Oher Foundation intends to empower socio-economically disadvantaged youth by providing them with opportunities and supports they need to overcome poverty through education, mentorship, and community. Their team is preparing to launch the Foundation's Opportunity Scholar Program with their first class of students this August.  


There could not be a more qualified individual to take up such a noble cause. Michael was able to navigate the hardships of life as a foster kid, who went from the streets of Memphis all the way to the NFL. At the forefront of his vision, Michael saw the importance of education. Even as a kid struggling to feed himself on the streets of Memphis, Michael knew the key to his success would be made in his choices to always do what was right. So, with only a single white t-shirt to his name, he set out on a journey paved in perseverance to build a better future.  


He would become known to the world from his successes gained through his determination to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. That drive would give Michael the opportunity to study at the University of Mississippi, “Ole Miss,” where he would become a two-time All-American and winner of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy. Unrelenting in his efforts, he would graduate college to become the first-round NFL draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2009. While playing for the Ravens, he would lead his team to victory in Super Bowl LXVII (47) earning him the title of champion. Now after having spent 8-years in the NFL with other teams including the Tennessee Titans and the Carolina Panthers, Michael is more active than ever. 


His incredible story of escaping the cycle of poverty and homelessness to find success through football and beyond is chronicled in the New York Times best-selling book, I Beat The Odds: From Homelessness To The Blind Side and Beyond.  However, the most admirable aspect about Michael’s story is that his work through the Oher Foundation is helping inspire stories just like his in the lives of youth right here in Nashville, TN. 


Dean's List University of Mississippi

First Team All-American (2008)

First Team All-SEC (2007, 2008)

Finalist, Outland Trophy (2008)

Finalist, Conerly Trophy (2008)

Semifinalist, Lombardi Trophy (2008)

Winner, SEC Jacob's Blocking Trophy (2008)

Shug Jordan Award, Southeast Offensive Lineman of the Year (2008)

1st Round Selection, 2009 NFL Draft, (Baltimore Ravens)

AP's NFL Offensive Rookie-of-the-Year Runner-Up (2009)

Super Bowl XLVII Champion (2013)



Michael Oher



Michael Oher



Michael Oher



Michael Oher

Mary Barrett


Michael Oher


The white t-shirt you see in our logo has deep meaning in both the personal life of our founder, Michael Oher, and in our commitment to fill the gap in education for youth. When Michael was fighting to survive on the streets of Memphis as a young boy, he didn't have much of anything to his name. One item that he did have was a single white t-shirt. Learning to value what he had, Michael washed the shirt daily to ensure he could be the best he could possibly be with what he had.

Starting with just a single white t-shirt, perseverance, and the character to do what is right; Michael now finds himself in a position to help the kids who face similar circumstances.

The void of the shirt in our logo resembles the gap of resources that plague the socio-economically disadvantaged youth in America. Our solution goes beyond just providing those missing resources, but comes with the lessons of character and choice that Michael discovered for himself at just eight years old.


The Oher Foundation intends to empower socio-economically disadvantaged youth by providing them with opportunities and supports they need to overcome poverty through education, mentorship, and community.

Our Mission


Does the Oher Foundation offer scholarships to Schools outside the Opportunity Scholar Program?

No, scholarships are only given to students who are accepted to our Opportunity Scholar Program. The scholarships are applied to school partners who have partnered with the Oher Foundation for the purposes of our programs. 

Does the Oher Foundation have plans to expand the program?

Yes. Our current focus is expanding opportunities, partners, and program spots within the city of Nashville. Long term, we are focused on expanding to city communities who express high needs for program offerings. 

How many students or spots are available for the Opportunity Scholar Program?

Each school partner may have a cohort of 12-15 students per placed student success coordinator. Every year we accept 3-4 new rising freshmen students per each school we are partnered with.

What is the purpose of offering provisional supports after scholarship grants?

Through our expert partnerships in education, we have found that ensuring students' success requires a holistic multi-level support extending beyond the school environment. Mentorship is at the heart of what we do.

My child is already in high school. Can they apply to join the programs?

No. The Foundation opens application to 8th grade students for enrollment starting their 9th grade year. The program is intended to be a full 4-year program ending on graduation. 

What is the economic cut-off for application eligibility?

While we will review all submitted applications, the Foundation priortizes students whose families earn below the poverty threshold. It is the intent of the Foundation to provide opportunities to low-income families.

Do I have to be of a certain race, religion, or background to be eligible to apply?

No. Applications are reviewed on an equal opportunity basis. However, information such as household income, academic capability/potential, geographical proximity, grade level, and student character are taken into consideration.

My student is not a straight A student, am I still eligible to apply?

Yes. We are seeking students who have the capability of performing in a rigorous academic environment with the support of the Foundation. We do not expect eligible students to have a perfect record during initial enrollment. 

When do applications for the next school year open?

Applications will open in early October of the prior year the enrollement is for. The review process of the Spotlight search does not begin until after the New Year, with final offers of acceptance made in May. 

contact us today.

Contact Information



The Oher Foundation is a non-profit organization providing opportunities to socio-economically disadvantaged students via a tailor-made education program called the Opportunity Scholar Program. Below are key elements about the program, its current operation status, and the students we seek to help.

  • Currently operating in the city of Nashville
  • Students can apply in the 8th grade
  • The program last from grades 9-12
  • Students homes with household incomes qualifying as below the poverty level will be priortized
  • Students are evaluated on an individual basis
  • Recommendations, strength of character, and academic potential are the major factors for student selection after meeting initial criteria
  • Opportunity scholars are provided with a full-ride scholarship to partner private schools including full coverage of cost of attendance
  • Current Partner Schools
    • Lipscomb Academy – Nashville, TN
  • The program’s main goal is to alleviate generational poverty through its investment in scholars via education and mentorship
  • The main focus of the program is its mentorship and enrichment services which takes place after enrollment
  • Mentorship
    • The Foundation places a dedicated fully staffed Student Success Coordinator with a background in education at our partner schools to offer academic, mental, and resource need supports to our scholars and their families

Brand Guidelines
Brand Guidelines

If you are seeking to utilize Oher Foundation brand assests for use in media or communications as a partner or media/journalist group, please fill out a request form on our website with mention of your requested use of the materials and reasoning for it.

Oher Foundation Brand Guide

Spotlight Brand Guide

Opportunity Scholar Program Brand Guide

Passion Brand Guide


Fill out our online form with inclusions of the details of your request

news release

Michael Oher exchanged vows with Tiffany Roy at the JW Marriot in Nashville, Tennessee, on Nov. 5.
"When Your Back's Against the Wall" now available for pre-order, coming August 8, 2023.
The Oher Foundation partners with Lipscomb Academy for the launch of its Opportunity Scholar Program.
Buy your tickets to our upcoming Fund the Future Gala. Please email mary@oherfoundation.org for ticket purchases.
Michael Oher is speaking a the Women's Summit at the Wond'ry at Vanderbilt University on February 24th.