Meet WISH’S Founder: The Honorable Jacqueline “Jackie” Lewis

By Patrick Slevin| October 9, 2018

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WISH got its start when Jackie Lewis and her late husband, Robert, were encouraged to provide safe affordable housing in DC, but they discovered there were few properties available. Working together, they started buying vacant properties that would house students at a price no more than back on the home campus. More than 25 years later, WISH offers an impressive real estate portfolio of row houses and apartments near Capitol Hill.

Thanks to our founder, WISH has established itself as the leading intern housing and residential life services provider in Washington DC.

“Experiential learning resulted in students of all abilities gaining insight into the real world outside home and school, while gaining the self-confidence to go on. The more students learn about the world around them, the more they learn about themselves.” –  Hon. Jacqueline Lewis

Ms. Lewis bio reveals a lifetime dedicated to education and empowering students.

Hon. Jacqueline “Jackie” Lewis is the Founder of WISH, LLC (Washington Intern Student Housing), a Washington DC based company providing student housing for thousands of college interns from over 100 universities across the globe.  Ms. Lewis gained national recognition for her educational leadership when she was consecutively appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush to the President’s Intergovernmental Advisory Council on Education. As executive director, Ms. Lewis recommended improvements of Federal education related programs to the President and Congress. These were from Council members, state and local elected officials, representatives of elementary, secondary and post-secondary education and parents.

Ms. Lewis credits her passion for making educational opportunities affordable and inclusive with a scholarship from Marquette University, which gave her the opportunity to get a college degree. She has dedicated her life to changing lives with education. As a middle school teacher in Michigan, she developed an interdisciplinary approach for learning skills for those with disabilities.

WISH has established a national network of over 25,000 alumni, many of whom work and reside in the D.C. area, and many return for WISH Career Nights to share how internships have changed their lives. WISH works with colleges and universities around the world to provide student housing for the semesters needed whether it be fall, spring, summer or all year.

Diagnosed in 1966 with Multiple Sclerosis, Ms. Lewis continues to speak for WISH initiatives, raising funds and contributing to those students of less means through scholarship aid. In 2018, the WISH/WiSE Foundation was founded to continue the Lewis Family belief in higher education made available through experiential, affordable and inclusive education.

Ms. Lewis also serves on the Moffitt Cancer Center Hospital Board, in recognition of her oldest daughter who died of breast cancer at the age of 49.

Today, WISH accommodates thousands of college interns cycling into the nation’s capital every year.  Thanks to Ms. Lewis, WISH plays a vital role in changing our interns’ lives for the better.

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